In 2013, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey reported that 20% of Connecticut’s youth in grades 9-12 reported underage binge drinking (4 or more drinks) in the past month, whereas the national rate was only 10.8%. The average age of first-time alcohol use among Vernon youth was 13 in 2013. Data shows that the later the onset of alcohol use, the less likely a person is to later become addicted.
What can parents do?
One of the most important ways to prevent your children from engaging in alcohol use is to have conversations with your children about alcohol at an early age, set clear rules, and set a positive example by not engaging in risky behaviors such as drinking and driving.
Many teens are accessing alcohol by taking it from their parents or other older adults. If you have alcohol in your home, make sure to restrict access to it from your children. Be sure to make it clear that there will be consequences if you see that there is anything missing.
Complete this Family Agreement Form with your children. This agreement encourages parents to pledge to keep their children safe and alcohol-free and encourages children to pledge that they will not engage in underage drinking.
REMEMBER: It is not legal or safe for parents to serve alcohol to teens, even if it is in their own home. Parents who allow their children and friends to drink at home, also known as social hosting, can face serious consequences, such as heavy fines, probation or even jail time.
Do you know the CT liquor laws? Be sure to review them here to make sure that you and your children are aware of the penalties for drinking under the age of 21. CT liquor laws
Sources: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.