Alcohol remains the most widely abused substance among America’s youth and is known to contribute to the three leading causes of death among 12-20 year olds. Still, a recent survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that more than a quarter of youth aged 12-20 admit that they drank alcohol in the past month.
"Prevention is the number one priority of SAMHSA, and reducing underage drinking is a key part of that effort," said SAMHSA administrator Pamela Hyde. "Underage drinking is a national crisis putting the lives of millions of Americans at risk as well as the futures of many of our youth."
Over 70 percent of children say parents are the leading influence in their decision to drink or not. Experts say parents should increase communication with their kids regarding alcohol use by talking early and talking often.
SAMHSA recommends parents start conversations about drinking by the time their children are 9 years old. Having short, frequent conversations about alcohol use has been shown to help build open, trusting relationships between parents and kids. They also help ensure that children know their parents’ views on the behavior.
Fathers and mothers are encouraged to visit UnderageDrinking.SAMHSA.gov for more information and tips on the best ways to deal with this subject.