Underage Drinking; Getting out the FACTS
Mille Lacs Messenger, Feb 2015
Our communities care about the health and safety of our children. In fact, a recent survey shows that MOST adults in our area believe they have a responsibility for the health and well-being of area youth and 85% of adults are concerned about the harm from underage drinking. The Mille Lacs Area Partners for Prevention (MAPP) coalition is a growing group of community members working together to build a healthy empowered community that prevents underage drinking and other drug use.
Here are some interesting facts about underage drinking that you may not know:
• 9 out of 10 Onamia parents disapprove of their teens drinking alcohol and MOST upper Mille Lacs community members disapprove of high school youth drinking alcohol. 1
• 2 out of 3 Onamia parents STRONGLY AGREE parents should take steps like talking with other parents, using curfews and requiring their children to check-in during the evening to prevent -underage drinking.1
• MOST Onamia teens would rather NOT drink alcohol when hanging out with their friends.1
• Studies also show, people who reported drinking alcohol before the age of 15 were 4 times more likely to become dependent upon or abuse alcohol later in life. 2
• The last part of the brain to fully develop is the frontal lobe—the area that allows us to control our actions and predict the consequences of our decisions. 3This part of the brain does not finish developing until we are in our mid-twenties. 3 This means that even teens who know the risks of alcohol use may still make a poor decision in the moment. For this reason, it is important that parents and community members remind teens about the harmful effects of alcohol, continually reinforce family rules, and carefully monitor behavior.
As a community and as parents together, we should take the time to understand the harmful effects of underage drinking and know that teens’ brains are a work in progress. With education and knowing the facts things CAN and DO change. It is the hope of the MAPP coalition, that parents and other adults will feel confident in their decision to establish guidelines, develop rules, and create consequences for underage drinking in their homes.
For more information about the MAPP coalition, please visit our website www.mappcoalition.com or contact Amber Kent at 320-532-6838.
1 Based on results of the 2012Minnesota Positive Community Norms surveys. 266 surveys completed by Upper Mille Lacs randomly selected adults aged 21 or older.
2 Grant, B. &. (1998). Age at onset of drug use and its association with DSM-IV drug abuse and dependence: Results from the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey. Journal of Substance Abuse, 10, 163-173.
3 Sowell ER, Thompson PM, Holmes CJ, et al. In vivo evidence for post-adolescent brain maturation in frontal and striatal regions. Nature Neurosci. 1999;2:859–61