Underage Drinking – Taking Away the Keys Doesn’t Take Away The Risk

Underage Drinking - Taking Away the Keys Doesn't Take Away The RiskIf you’ve talked to your teen about the dangers of underage drinking, you’ve probably focused solely on the jeopardy that comes from drinking and driving. Yes, it’s true that approximately 4,700 people die each year due to underage drinking, but did you know that most of those deaths in the 15 to 20 year old age bracket are not actually a result of driving under the influence?

Mothers Against Drunk Driving compiled recent data from the FBI, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and found that only 32 percent of deaths due to underage drinking were the result of traffic fatalities. The other 68 percent were due to homicides, suicides, alcohol poisoning, and other causes. These findings show that parents, now more than ever, need to be aware that asking your child not to drink and drive doesn’t eliminate all the risks associated with underage drinking.

Not only do young people who drink alcohol become more likely to have school issues, social problems, and emotional issues, but those teens who start drinking before the age of 15 will be 5 times more likely to have a problem with alcohol as they age.

The only true way for your teen to stay safe is to avoid drinking completely before the age of 21. As a parent, be sure to share the risks and outcomes of underage drinking with your children, and let them know that handing over the keys doesn’t diminish their risk.