How many times have we heard from well-meaning parents and other adults, “We’ll let them party here, we’ll just take away the car keys so they can’t drive”? And yet allowing our underage youth to party in our homes gives them the message that it is okay to drink, just don’t drink and drive.
A recent analysis by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) confirms with very clear numbers that the dangers of underage alcohol use go far beyond drinking and driving. In analyzing data from the FBI, the Centers for Disease Control, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, MADD found that 32% of underage drinking related deaths were traffic deaths. The other 68% fell into the categories of homicides, suicides, alcohol poisonings, falls, drownings, burns and other causes of death.
We also need to consider that there are other, non-fatal consequences of underage drinking that can negatively affect a young person life in both the short-term and the long-term. According to the Centers for Disease Control, youth who drink alcohol are more likely to experience academic problems, social and/or legal problems, and physical and sexual assault, as well as other problems.
Let’s all work together to prevent our children from having to face these consequences.
For more information, go to www.madd.org.