PARADE Explores Underage Drinking Epidemic, Rise of Deadly Alcohol-Caffeine Combo

June 10, 2011

NEW YORK, June 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The June 12 issue of PARADE magazine explores the growing trend of extreme underage drinking. While it’s no secret that teens drink–some as early as junior high school–for many, the point is to get as drunk as possible, as quickly as possible, in part to reduce the social anxiety rife at that age. And now, there are more dangerous ways to accomplish this: The practice of mixing alcohol with highly caffeinated energy drinks; the marketing of flavored malt beverages in 23.5-ounce cans, each containing a serious dose of alcohol; the influence of social media, through which kids share drink recipes and tales of their exploits, have all raised the stakes.

The national statistics are alarming: According to the CDC, about 90% of all teen alcohol consumption occurs in the form of binge drinking, which, experts say, peaks at age 19. And by the time they are in college, 72% of all teens say they have had a drink within the previous 30 days. Approximately 200,000 adolescents are hospitalized each year for drinking-related incidents, and more than 1,700 college students die from them.

With prom and graduation season upon us, now is the time to bring attention to this alarming behavior. Visit Parade.com or pick up Sunday’s newspaper to learn more.

Worried parents may consider taking these steps:

Know the warning signs. Signs of extreme drinking include a drop in grades, changes in behavior and mood, a new set of friends, memory lapses, and difficulty concentrating.

Open a dialogue. Ask your kids what kinds of experiences they’re having, make your personal values clear, and lay out the risks. Studies have found that parents who combine clear expectations of accountability with support and warmth have more success in curbing binge drinking than either strictly authoritarian or overly indulgent parents.

Establish a code word. Before your kids go out, agree on a phrase they can say if they are in an uncomfortable situation and need to give you a signal to come get them right away, no questions asked.

If you tell your kids just one thing, make it this: if you can’t rouse someone, call 911. The worst that can happen is you’ll be embarrassed or your parents will get angry. The alternative is far worse.


Source: newswire

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