underage drinkingsmOP-ED by Kelly Platt

What do we all know about underage drinking? What are the risks towards our teens? Teens are particularly vulnerable to alcohol use.
The physical changes from puberty might make your teen feel self-conscious, and coping with everyday stress may turn to experimenting with alcohol. From middle school to high school, moving, or dealing with the effects of divorcing parents, these issues may influence a teen to drink.
What are the consequences of underage drinking? They can lead to alcohol related fatalities from driving accidents, suicides, even drowning in a friend’s pool or at the beach while swimming. Statistically, teens who drink, tend to become sexually active earlier and have sex more often than teens who don’t drink.
Young adults who begin drinking as a teen develop alcohol dependencies, may turn to violent crimes such as rape, assault or even robbery. Teens who start drinking at this age may develop severe health issues later on in life such as cirrhosis of the liver.
If you suspect that your teen has been drinking and you’ve noticed mood changes or behavior problems, or your teen has red or glazed eyes or unusual health complaints, please talk to him or her. Enforce the consequences you’ve established so that your teen understands that using alcohol will always result in a loss of privileges. Rules might include no underage drinking, leaving parties where alcohol is served and not riding in a car with a driver who’s been drinking.
Best advice parents can do is to set an example in front of your children and not consume alcohol. Teens who have alcohol problems aren’t likely to realize it or seek help on their own. You can encourage your teen to avoid drinking alcohol by talking to him or her about the risks of underage drinking and the importance of making good decisions.
Kathleen Johnson, who organizes the Moriches Bay In the Know prevention coalition, will be holding a town hall meeting called “Ignorance is NOT BLISS!” The meeting will take place on May 11 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Center Moriches High School located at 311 Frowwin Road. Parents are urged to bring their teens to learn the facts about underage drinking.
Any high school junior or senior that attends this meeting will have a chance to win two tickets to the prom and other prizes as well.
For more information on this event, please contact the Moriches Community Center at 909-8320 or send an email at Info@morichescommunitycenter.org

Filed in: Center Moriches Update

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