First lady Jeanette Herbert and M.A.D.D. president Art Brown talked about the dangers of underage drinking and the “Parents Empowered” campaign.
Underage drinking leads to many problems including:
- BRAIN DAMAGE
The brain goes through dynamic change during adolescence (ages 12–21). Alcohol can seriously damage the long- and short-term growth process.
- ALCOHOL CAN DAMAGE DEVELOPING WHITE MATTER
In a recent study, white matter – the part that transmits signals – developed abnormally in teens who binge drank. Transmitting signals is a big part of what the brain does, which could impair thinking, learning and memory.
- ALCOHOL CAN PROGRAM A TEEN’S BRAIN FOR ADDICTION
A teen’s brain is much more susceptible to alcohol dependence than an adult’s. Alcohol tricks the brain’s pleasure-reward system into generating pleasure-reward feelings from a harmful chemical instead of a real experience. Because the teen brain produces an abundance of dopamine, it can rapidly go from liking, to wanting, to craving alcohol.
- Parents must convey clear disapproval of underage drinking, because even a small amount of perceived parental acceptability can lead to substance use.
- Binge drinking now begins as early as grade school.
- The younger a person starts to drink, the higher the risk of addiction. Those who start before age 13 have a 45 percent chance of becoming alcohol-dependent, compared to 7 percent for those who wait until 21.
- Research shows 67 percent of teens who drink before age 15 will try other illicit drugs.
- It is against the law for a minor to purchase, possess or consume any alcoholic beverage. It is illegal for anyone to sell, offer to sell or furnish alcohol to minors.
- At some level, most kids appreciate parental monitoring. It’s very real proof their parents love them enough to care about their well-being.
For more information on the Parents Empowered campaign, please visit: http://www.parentsempowered.org.