Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) says that 30 percent of U.S. eighth graders drink alcohol, and 20 percent binge drink, according to a March 4 story in HealthDay. In that light, it’s particularly chilling to learn (also from HealthDay) that federal statistics show that underage drinkers are responsible for about 546 visits to emergency rooms each day.
What’s a parent to do?
Talking with teens about alcohol and drinking can be difficult for parents — but emergency room doctors and MADD just made it a little easier.
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) teamed up with MADD to create and release a new, free handbook as part of MADD’s “Power of Parents, It’s Your Influence” campaign.
The handbook is part of the lead-up to PowerTalk 21 Day, scheduled for April 21, a national day for parents to talk to their teens about alcohol.
“Parents are the first line of defense against underage drinking, but it can be daunting to know exactly what to say. This booklet helps guide parents through these conversations with their kids,” said Dr. Sandra Schneider, president of ACEP.
According to HealthDay, ACEP said that when youth drink before turning 21, the likelihood increases that they will have trouble in school, be assaulted, get in a car accident involving alcohol, “drown or fall, [or] abuse alcohol later in life.”
“I know from being a mother myself how hard it is to talk to teenagers,” Schneider said. “But it’s much harder to face a child who has been seriously injured by alcohol, or who has injured someone else. MADD’s parent handbook will help parents start what could be a life-saving conversation with their child.”