National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is a health observance linking teens to facts about drugs.
Complete this quiz as a family to see how much you know about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Then, read on for further education on the consequences and potential health effects.
- Nicotine and other drugs can harm the developing adolescent brain. At what age does the brain stop developing? Learn more about understanding the teen brain.
- 10 years old
- 13 years old
- 18 years old
- 25 years old
- How many emergency room visits are made each year in the U.S. for injuries related to alcohol?
- True or false: Past-year misuse of Vicodin and OxyContin among 12th graders has increased.
- Teens are using vaping devices in record numbers. What exactly are they consuming when they vape?
- Marijuana/hash oil
- Just flavoring
- All of the above
- True or false: binge drinking rates among 8th, 10th and 12th grade students has continued a downward trend in recent years.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
If you or someone you know has a problem with drugs or alcohol, get help as soon as possible. Talk to an adult you trust― a parent, aunt or uncle, doctor, teacher, school counselor, or clergy member.
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April is Alcohol Awareness Month, providing teachers and parents with yet another opportunity to talk to kids about alcohol. As much as adults may not like to think about it, many kids try alcohol long before it’s legal for them to drink it. Never underestimate the positive impact of proactive discussions with your kids. Below are some helpful tips.
Everyone is familiar with the effects of peer pressure. Arm your child with some tactics for dealing with offers of alcohol:
• Encourage them to ask questions. If a drink of any kind is offered, they should ask, “What is it?” and “Where did you get it?”
• Teach them to say “no, thanks” when the drink offered is an alcoholic one.
• Remind them to leave any uncomfortable situation. Make sure they have money for transportation or a phone number where you or another responsible adult can be reached.
• Teach kids never to accept a ride from someone who has been drinking. Some parents find that offering to pick up their kids from an uncomfortable situation — no questions asked — helps encourage kids to be honest and call when they need help.
Times of transition, such as the onset of puberty, can lead kids to alcohol use. Teach your kids that even when life is upsetting or stressful, drinking alcohol as an escape can make a bad situation much worse.
Kids who have problems with self-control or low self-esteem are also more likely to abuse alcohol. They may not believe that they can handle their problems and frustrations without using something to make them feel better. Help to strengthen your child’s self-esteem, including acknowledging positive behavior. Make sure your child knows they can always turn to you for support.
Be a Positive Role Model
Fortunately, parents can do much to protect their kids from using and abusing alcohol:
• Be a good role model. Consider how your use of alcohol or medications may influence your kids. Consider offering only nonalcoholic beverages at parties and other social events to show your kids that you don’t need to drink to have fun.
• Educate yourself about alcohol so you can be a better teacher. Read and collect information that you can share with your children.
• Try to be conscious of how you can help build your child’s self-esteem. For example, kids are more likely to feel good about themselves if you emphasize their strengths and positively reinforce healthy behaviors.
• Teach kids to manage stress in healthy ways, such as by seeking help from a trusted adult or engaging in a favorite activity.
Although experimentation with alcohol can be common among kids, it’s not safe or legal. It’s important to start discussing alcohol use and abuse with your kids at an early age – and keep talking about it as they grow up.
Complete this quiz on teenage drinking and drug use, and see how much your family knows about the prevalence and dangers.
According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), new estimates show that binge drinking is a bigger problem than previously thought. More than 38 ...
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According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), new estimates show that binge drinking is a bigger problem than previously thought. More than 38 million U.S. adults binge drink, about 4 times a month, and the largest number of drinks per binge is on average 8. Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men on an occasion. Drinking too much, including binge drinking, causes more than 80,000 deaths in the United States each year, making it the third leading preventable cause of death.
Furthermore, alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States – more than tobacco and illicit drugs. Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States. More than 90% of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinks.
Make sure you talk to your kids openly about the consequences of this critical issue. Some of these consequences include poor or failing grades, legal problems, such as arrest for driving, unplanned and unprotected sexual activity, higher risk for suicide, alcohol-related car crashes and other unintentional injuries, abuse of other drugs, and death from alcohol poisoning. In addition, keep these helpful tips in mind:
- Help your child or teen build their self-esteem. Emphasize and reinforce their strengths and healthy behaviors. They are more likely to say no to peer pressure when they feel good about themselves and proud about their healthy habits.
- Be a good role model. Consider how your use of alcohol may influence your kids. Consider offering non-alcoholic beverages at parties and social events to show your kids that you don’t need to drink to have fun.
- Teach kids to manage stress in healthy ways, such as by seeking help from a trusted adult or participating in a sport or hobby they like.
- Look for signs, such as alcohol odor or alcohol disappearing from your home. Be mindful of a sudden change in mood or attitude in your child. This includes a change in attendance or performance at school, loss of interest in sports or other activities, and withdrawal from family and friends.
To learn more about binge drinking, click here for the report from the CDC:
This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a policy statement which calls for a ban on tobacco advertising in all media, limitations on alcohol advertising, and no erectile dysfunction drug advertisements until 10 p.m.
Among its recommendations, the AAP urges parents to exercise extreme caution in letting your younger children view PG-13 and R-rated movies and television shows, which often feature substance abuse, and that all substance abuse prevention programs, including those in the classroom, include media education.
As fierce advocates for children, CHOC Children’s agrees that some media messages can have a negative impact on children’s health and well-being.
To read more about why the media target your children, check out this article in our Kids Health magazine: http://www.choc.org/publications/articles.cfm?id=P00303&pub=KH&aid=130