Halloween is approaching and many teens and young adults are looking forward to parties with their friends. As parents, we often worry whether that could involve underage drinking. Unfortunately, alcohol consumption can see a peak at this time of year. A recent study found that for first year college students, Halloween was one of the highest drinking days of the year. For younger teens, parties like this could be the first time they are offered alcohol.So what can we do to help keep our children safe? The good news is that talking to your children about avoiding alcohol works. In fact, over the past decade, underage drinking among adolescents and young adults has declined.
According to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health report, alcohol use among adolescents continues to fall. The level of current alcohol use by adolescents dropped from 17.6 percent in 2002 to 9.6 percent in 2015.
This good news inspires me as we continue SAMHSA’s work educating our nation about the harmful effects of underage drinking. With Halloween and National Substance Abuse Prevention Month upon us, it’s a great time to talk to children and young adults about the dangers and risks of underage drinking.
As parents, educators, and friends, we can help prevent underage drinking. Use these tips to get started:
- Talk to your children about alcohol as early as 9 years old. Use conversation goals from SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” campaign for inspiration.
- Watch SAMHSA’s The Sound of Your Voice video for help starting important conversations about alcohol with college-age students. It’s a short animated video that encourages parents to talk with their young adults about the potential consequences of underage alcohol use.
- Get involved in Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking. It’s an initiative designed to educate communities about underage drinking and to mobilize them around its prevention. Find a meeting in your area and subscribe to the Communities Talk newsletter to get involved. This year alone, the Communities Talk initiative is hosting more than 1,500 town hall meetings around the country!
- Learn about the underage drinking rates in your state in the Report to Congress on the Prevention and Reduction of Underage Drinking in order to be better informed of what’s happening in your community.
Successful Prevention requires everyone to do their part. Join SAMHSA to help continue the downward trend in underage drinking in your community.