April is Alcohol Awareness Month. The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is continually working to keep alcohol out of the hands of youth. This is a problem that shatters young lives and communities across the nation. Motor vehicle crashes, alcohol poisoning, violence, and addiction are just some of the ways children under age 21 are being devastated by the inappropriate and illegal use of alcohol.
Keep Children Alcohol Free
Alcohol is the number one drug of choice among the nation's youth and it can have serious, often lifelong, consequences for them, their families and their communities.
"Scientific evidence shows that the earlier children begin drinking the more likely they are to develop serious alcohol problems in their lifetime," says Enoch Gordis, M.D., Director of NIAAA. "Put simply, our nation can no longer ignore alcohol use by children."
"Underage alcohol use is a significant threat to the health and safety of our children. It is time for us to come to grips with this widespread, devastating public health problem," noted Steven A. Schroeder, M.D., President and CEO of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The extent of alcohol consumption by children ages 9 to 15 is startling, and preventing it must become a national priority. Consider these national statistics:
• Every day in the United States, more than 4,750 kids under age 16 have their first full drink of alcohol.
• Approximately 10.0 million persons ages 12 to 20 (26.3 % of this age group) reported drinking alcohol in the past month. Nearly 6.5 million (17.0%) were binge drinkers, and 2.0 million (5.1%) were heavy drinkers.
• 40% of 12th graders say they have used alcohol in the last 30 days.
• More than 100,000 12-13 year-olds binge drink every month.
• Ninth graders who drink are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide as those who don't.
• Youth who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse in their lifetimes than those who begin drinking at age 21 years or later.
During April, talk to your kids about the dangers of underage drinking. Alcohol consumption is one of the leading causes of death and injury among teenagers. Experts say the number one deterrent to underage drinking is having parents who talk to their teens about the dangers.
For more information on talking to your teen about alcohol you may contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or visit us on the web at www.vbsafecoalition.com