Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summertime brings a spike in underage drinking

There's plenty to celebrate with the coming of summer. For kids, there's the extra free time to relax, go to the beach, spend more time with friends. There also tends to be a spike in underage drinking when school lets out.

According to the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), More teens start drinking  in June and July than in any other months. On an average day in June and July, more than 11,000 teens ages 12 to 17 use alcohol for the first time – December is the only other month with comparable levels. Throughout the rest of the year, the daily average for first-time alcohol use ranges from 5,000 to 8,000 adolescents.

The evidence is clear: more free time and less adult supervision increases the likelihood of exposure to the dangers of underage drinking.

Below are some tips to keep your kids safe this summer:
  • Approach your teenager with honest and direct communication. Learning how to express your concerns without making your teenager feel guarded is critical to effective dialogue. Let him/her know the dangers of underage drinking, which include behavioral changes and increased likelihood of vehicular accidents.
  • Keep your alcohol usage under control. Teenagers watch their parents for guidance so setting a negative example can make teenagers justify their own negative behavior.
  • Secure your personal supply of alcohol. Teenagers may be tempted to drink alcohol while you're away, so keeping it inaccessible can help prevent these dangerous situations.
  • Monitor your teenager's friends and whereabouts. Knowing who your teenager is hanging out with can alert you to possible problems. Avoid letting your teenager attend unsupervised parties. Follow up with other parents to ensure your child is being truthful about his friends and his social activities.
For more prevention tips and information on alcohol laws in Maine, visit: