Researchers from John Hopkins found that top alcohol brands are explicitly targeting ads to influence underage consumers. The legal drinking age is 21 but that is not stopping them from advertising to teens. In the survey data, about 70 percent of ads in magazines influenced those under 21 more than any other age group. Popular brand ads were nine times more likely to appeal to young men
How BIG is this problem?
· Significant statistics regarding alcohol use in teens include that about half of junior high and senior high school students drink alcohol on a monthly basis, and 14% of teens have been intoxicated at least once in the past year. Nearly 8% of teens who drink say they drink at least five or more alcoholic drinks in a row (binge drink).
What are the dangerous effects of alcohol use in teens?
Just a few of the many dangers of alcohol use in teens include the following:
· Each year, almost 2,000 people under the age of 21 die in car crashes in which underage drinking is involved. Alcohol is involved in nearly half of all violent deaths involving youth.
· Alcohol decreases memory retention and their ability to pay attention. Consequently they complete fewer years of education.
· The teenage brain exposed to alcohol becomes smaller in certain parts.
· The younger a person is when they begin drinking, the more likely they are to develop a problem with alcohol.
· More than three times the number of eighth-grade girls who drink heavily said they have attempted suicide compared to girls in that grade who do not drink.
· Intoxication is associated with suicide attempts using more lethal methods, and positive blood alcohol levels are often found in people who complete suicide.
· Teens who drink are more likely to engage in sexual activity, have unprotected sex, have sex with a stranger, or be the victim or perpetrator of a sexual assault.
· Excess alcohol use can cause or mask other emotional problems, like anxiety or depression.
· Drinking in excess can lead to the use of other drugs, like marijuana, cocaine, or heroin.
SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO AS A PARENT?
· There is no substitute for parental supervision
· Clear communication by parents about the negative effects of alcohol, as well as about their expectations regarding drug use, has been found to significantly decrease teenage drinking.
· Alcohol, and other drug use, has been found to occur most often between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., immediately after school and prior to parents’ arrival at home from work. Teen participation in extracurricular activities has therefore been revealed to be an important measure in the prevention of alcohol use in this age group.