7,000 teenage kids at and around the age of 16 are taking their very first drink today.
7,000 teens yesterday.
7,000 teens today.
7,000 teens tomorrow.
Roughly 1,700 kids between the ages of 17 and 21 die every year due to accessive drinking.
Are those numbers anyone wants to play with?
Any mother or father out there willing to gamble with those odds?
I’m guessing not, and the key is not thinking ‘oh that’s something that happens to other people, not me and my child.’ That’s a reactive approach that often, hits families far too late to be of any use to the teen.
We need to start a preventative approach to keeping these teens from drinking and succumbing to the pressures of alcohol (and of course drugs).
So, what are the facts?
The CDC reports that 90% of all teen alcohol consumption is binge drinking, in which teens consume more alcohol than adults who are regular drinkers.
Teens who engage in drinking are at higher risk of
- brain development issues
- social problems
- car accidents —> kids who start drinking at a young age are seven times more likely to be involved in an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident.
I can tell you first hand about the last one, having had 40 stitches in my face from a car accident at 16; yes, alcohol had been involved. In all reality, the fact that it happened at 16 was astounding, mostly for the reasons that I’d been around alcohol my entire life.
I know that one night by a campfire being introduced to Bacardi 151 at the age of 14, changed my entire life -and not for the better. I venture to say that most recovering addicts will be able to point to a specific instance at a young age that pivoted their propensity for addiction.
-I say propensity because as teens are still very malleable, and especially more so when under the influence of a substance; therefore causing the propensity for addiction, not the other way around.
I don’t have all the answers, I will never claim to, especially in the instance where raising children is concerned, but I do know that the longer we sit idly by, the worse things will get.