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21 Days in Support of 21: Day 17
By MADD | April 17, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Power of Parents

MADD & Austin Police Department Release New Data on Underage Drinking in Texas

Today, MADD Texas will host a press conference at the headquarters for Austin Police Department at 1:00 p.m. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo and representatives of the Dell Children's Hospital will be present to help promote Power Talk 21 and discuss the results of a survey of Texas parents and teens about underage drinking.

Check back tomorrow to see pictures and find out more about what happens at this exciting event.

Coming up on Day 18: PowerTalk 21 Across the Country

Let Them Know (Guest Blog)
By Guest Blogger | April 17, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Power of Parents

By Debbie Sausville, whose step-daughter Lauren was killed in drunk driving crash.

I joined MADD because of my 16-year-old step-daughter, Lauren Grace Sausville.  Lauren only had her driver’s license for 3 weeks before her crash on Friday, December 3, 2004.  Each time Lauren left our house with her dad’s car, he would say to her “Lauren, don’t drink and drive.”  How many parents do that each time their child leaves the house in their family car?  Lauren’s response that night was “Dad, I’m the designated driver tonight,” which is really silly because anyone under 21 should be considered a designated drive since they aren’t supposed to drink.

We knew Lauren was going to a friend’s house that night, but what we didn’t know is that his dad was out of town.  That was an open invitation for an unsupervised, underage party; to which, our Lauren showed up with 2 cases of beer that were provided to her by a then 27-year-old man, whom she knew, whose house she’d been to for parties.

I don’t know how many beers Lauren had that night, but I do know that, before the kids decided to go to another party, her boyfriend gave her 4 shots of vodka.  She was following a friend of hers to the other party, doing 55 mph when she crested a hill and, stopped at the stop sign, waiting for her, was her friend.  Lauren, drunk and inexperienced, overreacted, hit the embankment and flipped the car on its side and skidded down the road toward her friend, who saw what was happening in his rear view mirror.  But, even if he’d been sober, he couldn’t get out of her way, so Lauren hit the right rear bumper of his Mazda with the roof of the SUV and was killed instantly from blunt trauma to her head.

Lauren was 5’4” and 110 pounds.  Her BAC was .13 and her spinal fluid was .17.  It took them an hour to cut her out of the car and a pediatrician who lived on the corner pronounced her dead at the scene.  At her funeral, her friends vowed to never forget Lauren.  But, within a month, another friend had rolled her car after being provided alcohol by an adult.  Thankfully, she lived.

What I would say to all parents is that you need to know who your child is hanging out with; ask questions like “Will the parents be there?”  Don’t take your family to a restaurant and have a drink or two and then drive them home, because they will think it’s OK for them to drive after drinking.  We parents must set an example for our children and assure them that, if they do choose to drink, there are much safer alternatives than getting behind the wheel of a car. 

If only that man had refused to buy her the beer.  If only she hadn’t done those shots.  If only there had been a cop in Lauren’s path that night to stop her.  If only she had called her dad or sister to come pick her up.  But kids think they’re invincible and everyone thinks bad things will happen to someone else and not them.  The worst “bad thing” happened to Lauren.  She chose to drink and drive and paid for her mistake with her life; and her family is paying for her choice every day.  My husband will never walk his first born down the aisle.  We will never know what Lauren could have accomplished in her life.

Talk to your kids.  Let them know you understand the temptation of underage drinking.  Let them know the consequences: losing your license and, possibly, losing your life.  Let them know that their choices in life will affect more than just them.  Let them know…

Are You Ready?
By MADD | April 17, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Power of Parents

PowerTalk 21 day is just a few days away… are you ready to have the lifesaving conversation with your teens about underage drinking?

We know that informed, caring parents can make a difference. In fact, new data from a national MADD/Nationwide Insurance® survey of high school students shows that teens who receive a message from their parents that underage drinking is completely unacceptable are more than 80 percent less likely to drink than teens who receive any other message. (Click here to see the infographic.)

MADD is here to help. Throughout the day on April 21st, we are hosting free 30-minute online discussions (in English and Spanish) on the best ways to talk with teens so that they really listen, using research-based tips and tools. 

Click here to register for one of these online sessions and learn how you can make the most of your influence and keep your teens safe in the comfort of your own home.

Start talking on April 21st, and together, we can help prevent underage drinking and save lives.

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