When considering the possible consequences of underage drinking, some may immediately think of drunk driving. That risk is real – in 2014 in Texas, 1,949 drunk driving crashes involved underage drinking drivers (ages 16-20), leading to 91 deaths and 222 serious injuries, according to TxDOT.
However, nationally, more than two out of every three underage drinking-related fatalities do NOT involve drunk driving. Making it clear that underage drinking poses serious consequences for children that must be considered. For example, National Institutes of Health research also shows that critical brain development occurs from age 12-20, and binge drinking at these ages can negatively affect children’s learning, memory and motivation.
With the new school year approaching, we must help our children understand that it’s never safe or acceptable to drink before they’re 21. And we know they’ll listen – 62 percent of Texas teens say their parents are the motivating factor for them not to drink.
Whether our kids are getting ready to start middle school or wrapping up their high school careers, it’s crucial to talk early and often with them about not drinking. That’s why MADD developed the Power of Parents® program – to equip parents and caregivers with materials to talk with their children about alcohol. These resources are available for free at www.madd.org/texas.
Support our children as they head into the new school year and download the Power of Parents handbooks.
MADD North Texas