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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.

Teens Making a Difference
By MADD | April 16, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Power of Parents

21 Days in Support of 21: Day 16

Parents: Think your kids aren't listening to you when it comes to alcohol? Think again! Members of MADD's National Teen Influencer Group share their stories on how their parents influenced their decisions around alcohol.

Rachel Budd

Communication with my parents has been a key influence on my choice to be alcohol free until 21. My parents have always talked with me about alcohol and have created an environment where I feel comfortable discussing the issue.

Also, my parents have always told me if I am in a situation that I am not comfortable with they will come and pick me up, no questions asked. This is an important system to have in place because if a teen feels like they will be berated by a parent, they will be less likely to get out of an unsafe situation or one that could lead to them drinking.

Since I have open lines of communication with my parents, I don’t feel the urge to try to find out about alcohol on my own or rely on my peers, which could lead to being pressured into drinking. It is important that parents discuss alcohol with their teens so it’s not up to the teens to learn the negative effects of alcohol on their own.

The topic of alcohol should not be a taboo between parents and teens because teens are curious and it is better that the information comes from a parent.

Kassidy Brown

I first chose to avoid underage drinking because my siblings drank alcohol while in high school, and I decided at that point that I would never drink underage. I was young when my siblings were in high school, but my parents never hid any of this from me. I am grateful for that because it has had a huge effect on who I decided I would be when I entered high school.

I am a 17 year old girl who goes to a public high school in a small east Texas town, so there are opportunities for me to drink, but that's just not who I am. I didn't want to drink in high school first of all because I felt like my parents had already been through enough with my brother and sister, but secondly, I'm a role model in my community and I love it. My parents and I never had a really in depth conversation about drinking, but that's because in the 8th grade when many people who I was hanging out with at the time started drinking, I made it clear to my peers and my parents from the beginning I had no interest in drinking.

Personally, I think the best thing parents can do is talk to their kids early about the effects of drinking underage, get them involved in an activity they really love—for me that was dance—and lastly trust, on both the kid and parents part.


Dakota Baker

Choosing to be alcohol free is a choice that I am willing to make. Some of my friends drink because they don’t think that anything will happen to them or that something might already be happening to them. I choose not to drink until I’m 21 because I don’t need alcohol in my body to have fun, instead I can hang out with my friends or play sports without alcohol.

I don’t want to get drunk and not be able to remember what I have done, because that can be very dangerous. My parents don’t want me to drink because they know that drinking underage can cause your brain to not fully develop and they know that sometimes teens don’t think before they do something. I take the stand not to ever drink underage!

Josselyn Garcia

Communication is the key to everything. That is what I remind myself daily. As an only child about to head off to college, my parents are learning to let me spread my wings. They trust me because they know that they have given me the best advice they could give. They trust me because they know I trust them.

Truthfully, my parents are my best friends. Most teens my age don’t share the same relationship with their parents that I share with mine. I am blessed to have the parents I have because if it weren’t for them, I would possibly be headed down the wrong path.

Communication is what builds the trust and it is this trust that allows me to be able to share anything with them, whether it be good news or bad news. If I need help or advice, I turn to them. If I am in trouble, I can always count on them. By being there for me they are giving me someone to turn to in my weakest moments; someone that they know will guide me best.

Receiving guidance from people my age may seem like a good choice, since they face the same things I face. However, I have learned throughout the years that there is no one who knows me better than my parents, and if I receive guidance from other teens, it may lead to negative consequences. 

I choose to be alcohol free because I know the consequences alcohol has on my developing brain and body. I face peer pressure daily; from friends, from media, from stereotypes. However, I stay persistent to my choice not only because I have been brought up in a close family environment, but also because I have been taught to make my own decisions wisely.

I am not hand-held through this moment of my life. In order to be able to stand up for myself in the future, I learned to be conscious of my own choices and face my own consequences. Receiving support from my parents only makes me stronger, and this is all due to the strong bond of communication. 

Ashley Tyson

I chose to be alcohol free until the age of 21 because after taking so many health and medical classes through my school, I really started to understand how dangerous it is for teens to drink because our brains are still not fully developed.

Also, my parents did play a part in me not drinking. My parents are responsible drinkers, they only drink on holidays or special occasions but they always make sure to have picked out a designated driver before they drink or they choose to not go anywhere and they just drink at home. Because of the actions my parents have taken with drinking, they have been a great role model for me to follow.

It is important to talk to your kids about underage drinking because most the time teens get caught up in the moment with peer pressure and they just think hey why not? But if they knew all the facts about it then it could help them make smarter choices when going to party's or hanging out with friends.

I also think that it is important for the adult to lead by example. If you are going to drink then you have to be responsible. If you are not being responsible with your drinking but are telling your kids that they need to be, then they are less likely to listen because they will just think that you are being hypocritical. You have to be their role model!

Sarah Haiken

Hello, my name is Sarah Haiken and I am a 15 year old sophomore who chooses to be alcohol free until I am 21. When I was in fifth grade, my family friend Karen Naclerio-Negrin was killed by a drunk driver. Because I was so young, I thought alcohol in general was terrible. I often got upset when I saw adults around me drinking. It was my parents who explained to me that drinking is OKAY once you're legally allowed.

My parents were completely honest and open with me, and I felt as though I could ask them anything. As I continue through high school, I still feel that connection with my parents and am constantly asking alcohol-related questions. There honesty and openness created another bond, which allows me to feel comfortable asking anything.

From my experiences, I know how important it is for teenagers to talk with their parents about alcohol and ask them questions. However, it is equally as important for parents to openly talk to their children about waiting until they are 21 to drink alcohol.

Maddi Romeo

Alcohol was never really a big subject in my house until 2007 when my grandmothers were killed in a drunk driving crash. After that my parents and I started to talk. It was a little confusing, but they explained to me the dangers of it.

But, it's so important to have that talk. It seems minuscule, but after having these talks with my parents it showed me to not be afraid to talk to them. Once, I was in a situation where I was in a car with a couple girls that I truly felt unsafe with. So I texted my mom I was scared. She told me to just stay calm and she would get to me as soon as she could and to just say I had a church thing I forgot about the next morning. She took the fall for me so I felt safe and didn't embarrass myself with the older girls. 

This kind of trust is everything in my relationship with my mom and dad. The rules are, and have always been, if something happens, whether I don't feel safe or I've done something unsafe, to call them immediately. I won't get in trouble when they get me. Of course consequences might come later but knowing that I can always have a safe way out has lifted such a burden off of my shoulders.

I think this should be something every parent should implement since it keeps kids safe, but also doesn't discourage them from calling by promising immediate punishment. It's gotten me and my friends out of a lot of situations. All of this was founded on the mutual trust and understand between me and my parents as mature and smart people and it's something every family should strive for.

Thank you to our Teen Influencer Group members for sharing their perspective!

Coming up on Day 17: MADD & Austin Police Department Release New Data on Underage Drinking in Texas.

Tucson PowerTalk 21 Community Event
By MADD | April 16, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Power of Parents

On April 15th, MADD Southern Arizona worked with long-time partners Pima County Community Prevention Coalition and their sub-group, Communities of Concern, to focus on the importance of parents talking to their kids about alcohol and the dangers of underage drinking. This event was in preparation for PowerTalk 21® – the national day for families to talk about alcohol – and encourage parents to start that conversation with their teens.

Pima County CPC is a local nonprofit located in Tucson that has been working on prevention outreach for more than ten years, and Communities of Concern is a sub-committee that addresses underage drinking prevention through their “Just Sayin’” Community Forums that are presented to area schools prior to the busy Prom/Grad season and offers specific prevention strategies to keep kids clear of addictive substances.

The event began with the presentation of the PowerTalk 21 proclamation by Pima County Board Supervisor Ramon Valadez. The event focused on Spanish-speaking parents, as MADD Southern Arizona led a Spanish Power of Parents® workshop to equip parents with the techniques they need to start the conversation with their kids about alcohol. In addition to the parent support provided by MADD, Pima County CPC offers prevention strategies and alternatives for both youth and parents.  This event was covered locally by English and Spanish media.

Supervisor Ramon Valadez, Pima County Board of Supervisors and  Beverly Mason Biggers​, MADD Program Manager with the Proclamation

Supervisor Ramon Valadez, Pima County Board of Supervisors speaking to parents.

Irene Roja and Shaundra Higgins, Pima County Community Prevention Coalition

Pastor Larry Munguia, Chair of Communities of Concern,Beverly Mason Biggers, MADD Program Manager, Ramon Valadez, Pima County Board of Supervisors and Tori Ferrari, Stay Sharp Program.

This event was part of the 21 Days in Support of 21 campaign leading up to PowerTalk 21 day, a national day encouraging parents to speak with their teens about underage drinking and why it’s important to wait until 21 to drink.

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