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Alcohol Awareness Month: How to Curb Youth Drinking

Curbing youth drinking is a complex issues that requires the efforts of many different people from parents to college administration. There are three major things that you can do that have proven effective in curbing youth drinking. Our Alcohol Awareness Month topic this week is How to Curb Youth Drinking? According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), alcohol is the most widely used and abused drug among youth in the United States, more so than tobacco or illicit drugs. Not only does early use of alcohol put youth at risk for developing dependence later in life, but alcohol use increases the number of injuries and deaths related to alcohol misuse, while exacerbating many problems that already exist for our young people. So what are the risks of underage drinking and how might we help to curb youth drinking?

First let’s discuss what are some of the the health and safety risks associated with youth drinking. Aside from increasing their risk for dependence, youth who drink are more likely to be sexually active and engage in riskier sex. They are also more likely to be involved in verbal, physical or sexually violent behavior, have trouble at school or use other types of drugs. Here is a link to the NCADD’s fact sheet about underage drinking for more information on the statistics of injury and death related to alcohol use.

One of the most dangerous types of drinking among young people, is binge drinking. Drinking more alcohol than the body can process can cause brain damage or be lethal. For women, binge drinking is categorized as four or more drinks in a short period of time and for men it’s five or more. But even moderate drinking can impair a youth’s ability to make responsible and healthy decisions.

Curbing youth drinking is a complex issues that requires the efforts of many different people from parents to college administration. There are three major things that you can do that have proven effective in curbing youth drinking. The most important is through education. Give youth the power to make healthy decisions for themselves through understanding the risks of underage drinking. Helping to change what is considered normal youth behavior when it comes to alcohol is also extremely important. In addition, it’s important to limit the availability or access that youth have to alcohol, while maintaining and enforcing any rules or regulations that have been established in regards to underage drinking. These efforts go a long way in helping to curb youth drinking.

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