Attention Parents: Help Prevent Underage Drinking This Summer

Warning: Parents with Teens be Extra Vigilant in June and July

The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) latest report on underage drinking shows that more than one-quarter of American youth engage in underage drinking.

With summer here and kids out of school, teens may have more unsupervised time at home if both mom and dad are at work. Could that be one of the reasons why more teenagers start drinking and smoking cigarettes and marijuana in June and July than in any other months? During each of these summer months, more than 11,000 teens on average use alcohol for the first time, 5,000 start smoking cigarettes and 4,500 try marijuana, according to the 2012 SAMHSA report.

Furthermore, a another SAMHSA report revealed that overall from 2002 to 2011 the percentage of adolescents receiving substance abuse prevention messages in the past year from media fell significantly from 83% in 2002 to 75% in 2011. School-based prevention messaging also dropped from 79% in 2002 to 74% in 2011. The report also finds that roughly 40% of adolescents did not talk with their parents in the past year about the dangers of substance use.

Help for Tackling Underage Drinking

underage drinking

To counter these concerning trends, the “Talk. They Hear You.” public service effort equips parents and caregivers with the information they need to start talking with children as young as 9 years old about the dangers of alcohol. The campaign’s TV, radio, and print public service announcements (PSAs) in English and Spanish feature parents “seizing the moment” to talk with their children about alcohol while preparing dinner or doing chores together. By modeling behaviors in these PSAs, parents can discover the many “natural” opportunities for initiating the conversation about alcohol with their children.

For more information about how to talk to your teens about the risks associated with drinking and drug abuse, get a free “What’s a Parent to Do?” toolkit today!  Available at: RecoverGateway.org/Toolkit

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers
Every year Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment helps thousands of adults and teens get their life back on track and gives renewed hope to those who care about them. With 50 years of treatment experience, our specialists take the time to understand of the specific needs of each individual. We then develop a customized treatment plan with recommendations for the most appropriate care based on an individual's substance abuse and mental health history. As the largest provider of alcohol and drug abuse treatment in Illinois, Gateway has 11 treatment centers throughout the state. Gateway outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment programs are not one-size fits all, but unique treatment plans that give an individual the highest chance for a successful outcome. With insurance acceptance and a track record of success, Gateway Treatment Centers help thousands of individual’s successfully complete treatment each year, and find the hope they need to live again.

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