Letter to the Editor

It's up to all of us to prevent underage drinking in Greene County

Thursday, May 21, 2015

In 2013, nearly a quarter of people aged 12 to 20 (8.7 million, or 22.7 percent of this age group) reported drinking alcohol in the past month. The consequences of underage drinking can be calamitous; each year, more than 4,300 people under age 21 die from homicides, suicides, car crashes, and drowning related to drinking alcohol.

Media campaigns are one effective way of counteracting advertising and messages in entertainment media that glorify underage drinking. However, kids also deserve to hear positive messages from people they know and who care about them. Talking to youth about substance use and abuse and being involved in their lives can make a difference. For example, the frequency of binge drinking, illicit drug use, and cigarette smoking is lower among youth aged 12-17 whose parents always or sometimes engage in monitoring behaviors, like helping with homework, compared to youth whose parents seldom or never engage in such behaviors.

The words and actions of one person can make a positive difference in the lives of others. Every day, parents, caregivers, educators, and community leaders in Greene County can make a difference by having conversations with youth about substance use and by modeling healthy choices and behaviors.

As individuals and as a community, we can help prevent underage drinking by being involved in young people's lives; identifying resources, support systems, and alternatives for youth in the community; and raising awareness about the importance of prevention. Talk. They listen.

Beth Davis

Southwest Indiana Meth Alliance