With Independence Day, graduation parties and barbecues, summer is often a time of celebration. The Four Rivers Alliance encourages you to remember that while these celebrations have certainly been earned, it is not necessary for teens under the age of 21 to celebrate with alcohol. They can have a lot of fun without it. Not only is it illegal to serve alcohol to people under 21, it can also damage their still-growing brains.
Teen use of alcohol can impair their pre-frontal cortex, the area of the brain that is responsible for decision making, planning, judgment and controlling impulses. This area of the brain is developing at fast rates when people are in their late teens and early 20s. The damage caused can last beyond the time alcohol remains in the body.
Luckily, the surveys conducted by the Four Rivers Alliance this past fall indicate that about 75 percent of teens in Hamilton County aren’t using alcohol on a regular basis. Parents and community members have a large role in a teen’s decision to use alcohol (and other substances). The following are a few ways you can continue to have a positive impact:
∫ Establish a firm no-tolerance policy about alcohol and other drugs, including consequences.
∫ Talk about the dangers alcohol can incur.
∫ Spend time doing fun things with them.
∫ Involve teens in the community.
∫ Set an example with your own alcohol use, including setting limits and safe transportation.
For more information about helping to keep youth free from alcohol and other substances, visit www.toosmarttostart.samhsa.gov, www.talk2prevent.ny.gov, and “like” 4 Rivers Alliance on Facebook.
Four Rivers Alliance of
Hamilton County member