Something To Talk About

Screen shot 2014-04-25 at 10.41.15 AMBy Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Teen alcohol use kills 4,700 people a year, more than all other illegal drugs combined.  That’s something to talk about.
High school students who use alcohol or other substances are five times more likely to drop out of school and believe good grades are not important.  That’s something to talk about.
The question is, to whom?
The majority of teenagers say that their parents are the primary influence when it comes to making decisions about alcohol, so in recognition of that important fact, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has kicked off its inaugural “21 Days in Support of 21,” a campaign that begins on April 1st and culminates on “Power Talk 21 Day,” April 21.
Heather Peeples, of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, State of Florida Office, addressed the Madison County Commission to enlist the commissioners’ support in the campaign to get parents to talk to their kids about alcohol, by helping them realize the important part they play in their teen’s decisions about underage drinking.
The Board of County Commissioners signed a Madison County Proclamation, establishing April 21 as “Power Talk 21 Day” in Madison County.
The purpose of “Power Talk 21 Day” is to encourage parents and guardians to embrace their role as the most important influence in their children’s lives, and talk honestly and openly to their kids about alcohol and other drugs.  As an awareness campaign, it also strives to create an ongoing national conversation about underage drinking in general, and “urge all citizens to join in local and national efforts to raise awareness of parents and teens talking together about alcohol in order to reduce the risks and dangers posed to teens and communities.”
For a copy on the “Power of Parents” handbook, go to http://www.madd.org/underage-drinking/the-power-of-parents/ and sign up for the free, downloadable copy.  Teens who would like to receive a copy of the booklet that has been call “the 411” on teen drinking, “The Power to Take a Stand,” can sign up for a free downloadable copy at the same website, and learn strategies for resisting peer pressure and influencing their friends not to drink.
Another online resource for parents is http://www.bethewall.org/#/HOME/.  Click on “Be the Wall” for tips on how to help your teen host an alcohol free party, or click on any of the other tabs for parent blogs and other information about teens and alcohol.
MADD will also be happy to come and do a free workshop or speak to your church group, community group, or civic organization about how to talk to your teenagers about alcohol.  Just call (850) 681-0061 to speak with someone about making arrangements.
Now that’s something to talk about.
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Lynette Norris

Written by Lynette Norris