MADD Tennessee is now offering MADD Start Making a Right Turn™ (SMART) classes for teens and their parents, in an effort to help turn a teen’s poor decision into a second chance.
The focus of the MADD SMART program is underage drinking prevention, since alcohol is the most commonly used drug among teens and it can serve as a gateway to other illegal activity. The MADD SMART program includes simultaneous classes for teens and parents, then they come together to hear from someone who has been personally affected by underage drinking or drunk driving.
The MADD SMART Teen class helps teens understand the dangers of drinking alcohol before age 21, and the power they have to make good decisions. Compared with non-drinking classmates, teens who drink are more likely to: die in a car crash, get pregnant, flunk school, be sexually assaulted and commit suicide. In fact, underage drinking kills about 5,000 people each year — more than all other illegal drugs combined.
The MADD SMART Parent class gives parents the tools to talk with their kids about the dangers of underage drinking. It is based on more than two decades of research by Dr. Robert Turrisi of Pennsylvania State University, showing that clear and on-going communication about alcohol, between parents and teens, is critical in preventing underage drinking and its many associated dangers.