Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD), Schuyler County Public Health, and the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office are partnering this winter to raise awareness about the dangers of underage drinking and provide tips to stop it.
“Alcohol misuse can lead to a lot of problems like car accidents, memory problems, and bad decision-making,” said Schuyler County Public Health Director Jill Kasprzyk. “But it can be especially dangerous for children and teens. Underage drinking can lead to permanent brain changes, and it increases the chances that someone will develop an alcohol use disorder later in life. The good news is that parents and community members can take steps to help prevent underage drinking.”
Ward Brower, the Project Coordinator for SCCUDD, provided the following tips for parents/caregivers from the “Talk. They Hear You.”® campaign:
- Show you disapprove of underage drinking and other drug misuse. Over 80 percent of young people ages 10–18 say their parents are the leading influence on their decision whether to drink. Send a clear and strong message that you disapprove of underage drinking and misuse of other drugs.
- Show you care about your child’s health, wellness, and success. Young people are more likely to listen when they know you’re on their side. Reinforce why you don’t want your child to drink or use other drugs—because you want your child to be happy and safe. The conversation will go a lot better if you’re open and you show concern.
- Show you’re a good source of information about alcohol and other drugs. You want your child to make informed decisions about alcohol and other drugs with reliable information about their dangers. You don’t want your child to learn about alcohol and other drugs from unreliable sources. Establish yourself as a trustworthy source of information.
- Show you’re paying attention and you’ll discourage risky behaviors. Show you’re aware of what your child is up to, as young people are more likely to drink or use other drugs if they think no one will notice. Do this in a subtle way, without prying.
- Build your child’s skills and strategies for avoiding underage drinking and drug use. Even if you don’t think your child wants to drink or try other drugs, peer pressure is a powerful thing. Having a plan to avoid alcohol and drug use can help children make better choices. Talk with your child about what they would do if faced with a decision about alcohol and drugs, such as texting a code word to a family member or practicing how they’ll say “no thanks.”
“Not only is underage drinking dangerous,” added Schuyler County Sheriff Kevin Rumsey, “it can also cause legal problems – especially for the adults who either provided the alcohol or provided a place for teens to drink alcohol or use other drugs.”
If you or someone you care about is struggling with alcohol use, contact the 24/7 HOPELine by calling 1-877-8-HOPENY or texting HOPENY (467369). If you want to report an underage drinking party or other illegal activity: Prevent Crime - Call the Tip Line at 607-535-8224. Learn more about underage drinking at https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm and about the “Talk. They Hear You.”® campaign at https://www.samhsa.gov/talk-they-hear-you.