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“A Parents’ Guide” Helps Talk to Kids About Alcohol

When it comes to talking to kids about alcohol, parents often need all the help they can get. A recent Science Inside Alcohol Project funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism was produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Titled “Delaying the First Drink: A Parents’ Guide”, the project focuses on using science as a powerful tool for parents, teachers, and coaches to guide middle-school students away from drinking alcohol. The educational guide discusses research about the impact that alcohol has on a growing body and offers tips on how to talk to kids about drinking.

Studies have shown that kids who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to have alcohol-related problems as adults. So delaying the first drink could have a large impact of a kid’s life. The researchers for the project said that the focus is often on high school students who are at risk of combining drinking and driving, but fourth, fifth and sixth graders who drink are at risk of later consuming alcohol at higher levels. Drinking also contributes to poor school performance, early sexual activity, and other risky behavior.

When surveyed, a group of 143 seventh graders from several middle schools in the United States showed they knew very little about the science of alcohol, how it affects their bodies, and which of the body’s systems it effects. Nearly half of those questioned did not know how alcohol was made. The easy to read, informational booklet discusses the effects alcohol can have on the brain, especially a developing one. And it discusses the impact that alcohol has on the central nervous system, the digestive system, the heart, the liver and other organs.

The book is available online as a pdf at http://sciencenetlinks.com/media/filer/2011/09/29/delaydrinkingbook.pdf

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