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Code Word
By Guest Blogger | September 18, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Power of Parents , Teen Influencer

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."


The U.S Widely Opposes Lowering Drinking Age
By MADD | August 13, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Power of Parents

According to a new poll released by Gallup, 74 percent of Americans are against lowering the drinking age to 18 while only 25 percent would favor it.


  Graph from gallup.com


At MADD, we support the 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age law because it prevents tragedies—decreasing crashes by an estimated sixteen percent and saving more than 25,000 lives. Click here to read more reasons why 21 saves lives. 

Sign up for our legislative alerts, and we’ll let you know when legislation to lower the drinking age is introduced in your state.

To learn more about the current 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age law, click here, and to read the full report from this poll, click here.


Are You Ready for Back to School?
By MADD | August 6, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Power of Parents

Summer is drawing to an end, and kids are headed back to school (whether they like it or not). But parents, do you have the supplies you need to make this a successful school year? No, we’re not talking about backpacks and pencils.We’re talking about the tools every parent needs to keep their kids safe.

Did you know alcohol kills more teens than all other drugs combined? That’s why it is so important to talk with your teens about underage drinking. But we know that this can seem like a daunting task, which is why we created the Power of Parents® program to provide parents with proven tips and tools tohelp your kidsstay alcohol-free this school year.

Here are seven tips for getting through to your teen:

  1. Communicate before a problem starts – Have important discussions now, before there’s blame, anger or punishment. Agree on a time to start talking together about the dangers of alcohol.
  2. Discuss rules and consequences – Explain how you expect your son or daughter to act, and why. Tell your teen plainly that you don’t want him or her drinking. Agree on consequences of broken rules.
  3. Show you care – Gently touch your teen on the arm or back to show affection. Tell your teen you love them and want them to be healthy and safe. Explain that’s why you need to talk together about the dangers of underage drinking.
  4. Pay attention – Even when life gets hectic, take time out to listen to your teen. Monitor where your teen is and what your teen is doing.
  5. Share family activities – Have dinner together at least three times a week.
  6. Give and get respect – When your teen talks to you, listen and reply respectfully. Insist that your teen treat you with respect, too.
  7. Enforce consequences consistently – If your teen breaks the rules, stay calm and enforce the consequences.

Click here to get the PDF version of Seven Tips for Connecting with your Teens, as well as helpful conversation starters.

Want to learn more? Get our Parent Handbook for a detailed guide on talking to your teen about alcohol, and our Power of You(th) booklet to help teens take a stand against underage drinking.


Effects of Alcohol Ads on our Teens
By MADD | July 31, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Power of Parents

A study published in the July 2014 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs revealed that the brands of alcohol popular among underage drinkers are the same ones most heavily advertised in magazines read by youth. The findings provide further evidence that alcohol ads can encourage young people to drink.

The researchers looked at alcohol ads that ran in U.S. magazines in 2011, with a focus on ads for the top 25 alcohol brands consumed by underage drinkers. Those brands were advertised more heavily in magazines read by young people than 308 other alcohol brands that are less popular with underage drinkers, the investigators found.

Compared to the other brands, the most popular brands were five to nine times more likely to heavily expose 18- to 20-year-olds to their magazine ads, the findings showed.

Because of the dangers associated with underage drinking, MADD is concerned about the effects that alcohol advertisements have on our youth.

All of the ads in the study were in complete compliance with the industry’s self-regulatory guidelines, which suggest that alcohol ads should be restricted to magazines with less than 30 percent of readers who are younger than 21.  However, MADD believes in stricter standards, including prohibiting advertising to audiences with less than 90 percent adults aged 21 and older viewership.

Since parents cannot always control the type of advertisements their teens are exposed to, it is important to talk with your teens early and often about the dangers of underage drinking. MADD’s Power of Parents® program can provide the tools you need to start this potentially lifesaving conversation with your teen.  

Click here to download our free Parent Handbook.


July: A Dangerous Month for Teens
By MADD | July 21, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Power of Parents

Summer vacation for teens should be a time of fun and relaxation, summer camps and first jobs, volunteering and exploring. Unfortunately, for some, unsupervised time leads to alcohol and drug use.

July is the month when more young people start using alcohol and other substances than any other. On average in July, someone under age 18 begins:

  • Drinking alcohol every eight seconds
  • Smoking cigarettes every 17 seconds
  • Using marijuana every 19 seconds
  • Using inhalants every 47 seconds

This doesn’t even count the 18, 19 and 20 year olds who begin drinking during the month.

That’s the bad news; now the good news. If you are a teen, you should know that even though the risks are highest during the summer, most teens don’t drink. Less than 30 percent of teens have had a drink in the past month. A growing number of teens have decided to be an example for others through the Power of You(th) program

Teens, click here to get our free teen booklet to learn how to take a stand against underage drinking.

If you are a parent, now’s the perfect time to start or renew the conversation with your teen about alcohol. You can learn how to have the conversation about alcohol effectively with our free Power of Parents handbook at www.madd.org/powerofparents.

 

Number of Adolescents Younger than 18 Using Alcohol for the First Time on an Average Day, by Month: 2002 to 2010


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