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Take a Stand Against Underage Drinking this Spring Break

Underage drinking is not only illegal, it’s dangerous. In fact, teen alcohol use kills about 4,700 people each year — more than all other illegal drugs combined. And over two-thirds of all deaths associated with underage drinking are not on the roadways—they're things like homicides, suicides, alcohol poisonings, falls, drownings, burns and other causes of deaths.

That’s why this spring break, MADD wants all teens to know that even though it may seem like everyone is drinking, research shows that three out of four high school students DON’T drink alcohol.

As a teen, you have so much to look forward to – graduating, pursuing a career, having a family. High school is only a few years. The choices you make today will impact your entire life. Take a stand against underage drinking to give yourself, and the people you love, the best head start.

Check out some of these resources we’ve created to help parents, teens and communities work together to keep this spring break fun and safe:



Teens: Get our research-based teen booklet to learn how you have the power to stop underage drinking.

 Parents: You can be part of the solution by downloading the latest version of the Power of Parents handbook.

Schools and Communities: Download the Power of You(th) Toolkits for educators and community partners.





Fall 2014 MADDvocate

The Fall Issue of MADDvocate is now available. Read the latest issue of our online magazine that is helping survivors survive.


5 to Drive

Parents often worry about their kids’ safety, and they have good reason to be concerned when their teen gets behind the wheel. Young, inexperienced drivers are the most crash-prone drivers on the road.  In fact, traffic crashes are the number one cause of death for American teenagers.

Talking to your kids about the dangers of driving is one of the best things you can do to keep them safe on the road, but many parents just assume their teens get this information elsewhere, so they don’t have the conversation.

October 19-25 is Teen Driver Safety Week, and it’s a great time for parents to talk to their teen drivers about the risks they face.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “5 to Drive” campaign identifies the five most important rules all teen drivers need to follow:

  1. No Alcohol. Even though the minimum legal drinking age in every state is 21, among 15- to 20-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2012, 28 percent of the drivers killed had been drinking. And we know that drunk driving crashes are not the only danger to teens when it comes to alcohol, so talk with your teen about the risks of underage drinking. Use our Power of Parents® handbook to help get the conversation started.
  2. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back.  In 2012, of all the young (15- to 20-year-old) passenger vehicle drivers killed in crashes, more than half (55%) of those killed were not wearing seat belts.
  3. Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.  In 2012, among drivers 15 to 19 years old who were distracted in fatal crashes, nearly 1 in 5 were distracted by their phones. This age group had the highest percentage of drivers distracted by phone use.
  4. Stop Speeding Before It Stops You. In 2012, speeding was a factor in almost half (48%) of the crashes that killed 15- to 20-year-old drivers. By comparison, 30 percent of all fatal crashes that year involved speeding.
  5. No More Than One Passenger at a Time. Extra passengers for a teen driver can lead to disastrous results. Research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the number of teens in a car. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples when traveling with multiple passengers.

Talk to your kids—this week and every week—about how to be smart and safe behind the wheel.

For more information about Teen Driver Safety Week and the “5 to Drive” campaign visit www.safercar.gov/parents.


Teen Alcohol Use Continues to Fall

According to new numbers released by the Department of Health and Human Services, Drug and alcohol use among America's teens continues to decline.

From 2002 to 2013, the rate of regular alcohol use among teens (12 to 17) declined from 17.6 percent to 11.6 percent.

These findings come from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH),an annual, nationally-representative survey of roughly 70,000 Americans aged 12 and older.

Despite a common myth that “everybody’s doing it,” we know that two out of three teens DON’T drink alcohol. And this new report proves it.

We are excited to hear this trend is continuing, especially with Red Ribbon Week just around the corner Find out how you can help reduce the deaths and injuries that come from underage drinking by visiting www.madd.org/redribbonweek to download all of our free Red Ribbon Week resources and learn how you can get involved in your community.


Code Word

by 15 year old Sarah Haiken, a member of MADD’s National Teen Influencer Group

My name is Sarah Haiken and I am a 15 year old Junior from New York. While getting back into my school routine, the nerves of being accepted have arrived. I am often anxious that my strict views on underage drinking will cause my peers to make me an outcast. However, I have learned to control this fear by avoiding situations where alcohol may be involved. I do this by having a code word with my parents. Whenever I don't feel comfortable somewhere, I can text or call my parents saying the code word and they know to pick me up. This allows me to blame my parents for not doing something I don't feel comfortable with, and my peers cannot pressure me or make fun of me for it. It's the perfect way for me to get out of a situation without feeling "uncool."


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