March 27, 2007
April is Alcohol Awareness Month
Local estimates of Cobb youth ages 12-20 who used alcohol in the past 30 days:
21,042 youth reported drinking
5 percent were 12-13 year olds
18 percent were 14-15 year olds
32 percent were 16-17 year olds
52 percent were 18-20 year olds
Alcohol is the most commonly used drug among our young people. Youth use alcohol 10 times more than all illegal drugs combined. Alcohol is the leading contributor to the top three leading causes of death among young people. Underage drinking is reported in nearly half of all teen automobile crashes and 50 to 65 percent of youth suicides. As many as two thirds of all sexual assaults and date rape are linked to alcohol use. Alcohol is also a contributing factor in unprotected sex among young people, exposing them to unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.
Research indicates that most underage drinking takes place in private settings such as home parties. Private parties often provide a means to introduce younger youth (ages 14-16) to alcohol by older youth (ages 17-19). One in 12 parents of teens said they allowed the friends of their own teens to drink in their home under their supervision.
Communities large and small have begun to address the problem of social hosting through dialogue and local policy making. Currently, hosts who allow underage drinking on their property as well as supply the alcohol consumed or possessed by the minors may be in violation of two distinct laws; furnishing alcohol to a minor and allowing underage drinking to occur on property they control.
Because of all the negative consequences of underage drinking – coupled with the fact that, on average, young people first use alcohol at 13.1 years of age – youth access to alcohol must be addressed pro-actively. To advocate for all the children please check out the two websites below and start talking to other adults in your neighborhood about ways to stop underage drinking.
Underage Drinking is not a rite of passage it is against the law.
www.stopalcoholabuse.gov and www.cudtf.org
Posted by Pat Giuliani at March 27, 2007 4:15 PM