“Talk It Up. Lock It Up!” Campaign Urges Parents to Protect Teens from Alcohol Abuse
With prom season underway, April declared Alcohol Awareness Month
Raleigh – With prom season underway in North Carolina, state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Acting Secretary Al Delia urges parents to take steps to protect their teens from alcohol abuse, the leading cause of preventable deaths in young people nationwide.
The Talk It Up. Lock It Up!™ campaign encourages parents and other adults to monitor and secure alcohol in their homes to prevent access by children and teens, and emphasizes the importance of talking to young people about the dangers of alcohol use. The Talk It Up. Lock It Up!™ toolkit is available at www.ncpud.org/action/talkituplockitup.php.
Costs associated with underage drinking in North Carolina total $1.5 billion, which translates to $1,668 per year for each young person in the state. During 2010, North Carolina’s underage drinkers consumed 9.7 percent of all alcohol sold in North Carolina. In recognition of the significant impact underage drinking has on the Tar Heel state, Governor Bev Perdue has declared April to be Alcohol Awareness Month.
“This is not only a safety issue, but an economic issue as well,” said Secretary Delia. “Parents and other adults can play a crucial role in protecting our young people from underage drinkers. Especially during prom and graduation season, when our kids are celebrating with friends, underage drinking is a real threat. So first, talk it up; then, lock it up. The actions you take now could save your child’s life tomorrow.”
A 2011 study by Liberty Mutual/SADD shows that alcohol-free policies at school events may reduce occurrences of drinking and driving on prom night; however, the same report indicates that when there is no enforcement, drinking and driving is more prevalent.
- A recent public health survey of North Carolina teens revealed that more than 18 percent of high school students reported binge drinking in the past month, and more than 20 percent of students reported riding in a car with someone who had been drinking alcohol.
- During 2009, an estimated 41 traffic fatalities and 1,693 nonfatal traffic injuries in North Carolina were linked to driving after underage drinking.
- Alcohol consumption is the leading preventable cause of death of youth, killing some 5,000 youth nationally each year, and is the second leading preventable cause of cancer.
- Youth age 15 and under who drink alcohol are four times more likely to become alcohol dependent, and five times more likely to abuse alcohol later in life than those who do not drink until age 21 or older.
- According to the American Medical Association, an estimated two-thirds of teens ages 13-18 gain access to alcohol from their home without consent from an adult.
The NC Preventing Underage Drinking Initiative (NC PUDI) is administered by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and is funded primarily through the Federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Program. Additional information can be found at www.ncpud.org/main.php.