MADD’s Campaign Urges Parents to Talk to Kids About Underage Drinking

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By Stephen Sealey

Original Source: valleycentral.com

Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s new campaign encourages parents to have important talks with their teens about underage drinking.

“We just want our parents to have that conversation with their kids about underage drinking, and the dangers of riding in the vehicle with someone who’s been drinking, as well,” said MADD’s Executive Director of the Southwest Region Jason Derscheid.

Derscheid said the end of the school year and summer vacation give kids more chances to drink. Among 8th, 10th and 12th graders, 3%, 10%, and 16% respectively reported binge drinking, according to the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey on alcohol consumption. That’s why MADD has launched their month-long Power of Parents campaign– urging parents to sit their teens down and discuss the dangers of underage drinking.

“What we found with our research is that kids cite their parents as their number one influence on whether they choose to drink underage,” Derscheid said.

MADD wants parents to understand that teenagers may not realize that underage drinking can lead to long-lasting effects.

“Even for adults, once they start drinking their judgement is impaired, but the impairment is multiplied when talking about a younger person whose brain isn’t fully developed,” said Derscheid.

Teens don’t have the same experience as adults, so they lack judgement which can lead to getting behind the wheel.

Rose M. Pulido is a driver education teacher at Brownsville Driving Academy. She not only teaches how to properly operate a car, but makes sure students understand the seriousness of driving impaired.

“If something happens, it isn’t just about them,” Pulido said. “They have to be aware that others are impacted too.”

Pulido stresses even riding in the car with someone who has been drinking is hazardous.

“We have a nickname for that passenger side, and we call it ‘the death seat’,” Pulido said.

Underage drinking and drinking and driving is 100 percent preventable, so sitting down with teens before they make that decision is crucial.

“They start learning to be able to use that as they get older, as well,” Derscheid said. “They’ll be more than likely not to drink and drive as adults, and we really see that as being kind of one of the puzzle pieces fitting into our campaign to eliminate drunk driving.”

For methods on how to get the conversation started with your kids, go to the MADD’s website.

Continue Reading: valleycentral/maddcampaign

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