The holidays are a time for fun and celebration, but, unfortunately, also a time of risk for young people. On an average December day, more than 11,000 young people, aged 12 to 17, will use alcohol for the first time. Some of these young adults will not make it to the new year, as nearly 400 young people under age 21 die from alcohol-related causes every month.
Parents, guardians, families, teachers, and communities must come together to prevent underage drinking. That’s why I’m inviting you to join me on Monday, December 15, from 1–2 p.m. ET, for a Twitter chat on underage drinking prevention.
During the chat, we will discuss the reasons why young people are more likely to start using alcohol during the holidays. More important, we will discuss steps that parents and other caring adults can take to reduce the risk that underage youth and young adults might drink. We also will highlight the prevention resources SAMHSA has available prevention, such as:
- StopAlcoholAbuse.gov, the website managed by SAMHSA on behalf of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking;
- SAMHSA’s Underage Drinking page, which provides information and resource links;
- “Talk. They Hear You.” national prevention campaign for parents and other adult caregivers of children ages 9 to 15; and
- Underage Binge Alcohol Use Varies within and across States, a report that highlights states and substate regions where young people appear to be at particular risk of experiencing underage drinking consequences.
The Twitter conversation will address prevention of underage drinking by college students as well as adolescents. Many young adults will be returning home from college for the holiday break. The rate of high-risk drinking, including underage drinking, by full-time college students is alarmingly high. Nearly two out of five full-time college students report binge drinking. But the good news is that parents still have a significant influence over decisions that their young adults make about alcohol use.
A Twitter chat is a live, online discussion about a particular topic for a set amount of time. Participants can ask questions, answer questions, offer opinions, highlight resources, or just follow the conversation. To join the underage drinking prevention Twitter chat, simply sign in to Twitter from 1-2 p.m. ET, follow hashtag #NotBefore21, and use #NotBefore21 in your tweets. Stay connected with SAMHSA by following @SAMHSAgov.
Please join the conversation. Get others to join the Twitter chat by sharing this blog through your social networks. Underage drinking prevention is a gift that we can give our young people during the holidays and throughout the year.