In a hospital room where her daughter lies unconscious, a tearful mother shares what she has learned from doctors: the girls’ blood work has come back positive for alcohol.
“She doesn’t even know how to drive,” the mother laments, “and she was driving under the influence.”
It is a fictional storyline in the CBS daytime drama “The Young & the Restless,” in which Faith Newman, a young teenager, has turned to alcohol to try to cope after enduring months of cyber bullying. When Faith learned that an online admirer was actually a classmate playing a cruel prank, she swiped a bottle of tequila from her grandfather’s bar, jumped into a truck and sped off. Viewers learn in a subsequent episode that Faith lost control and hit a tree after drinking alcohol.
Melody Thomas Scott, who plays Nikki Newman, reveals a sobering reality in the PSA: 95% of the 14 million people with an alcohol dependency began drinking before age 21. Viewers are directed to madd.org to learn more about how to prevent underage drinking.
It is stories like Faith’s that MADD is working to prevent. PowerTalk21®, which kicked off on April 1 to coincide with Alcohol Awareness Month, provides parents with the tools they need to talk with their kids about underage alcohol and drug use. PowerTalk 21® is a part of MADD’s Power of Parents® program, made possible for the 10th year in a row by national presenting sponsor Nationwide.
Our research here at MADD has shown that parents are the No. 1 influence on their child’s decisions about drugs and alcohol. That’s why we’re kicking off a #PowerTalk21Challenge® beginning April 21 that focuses on 21 ways to engage your teen in 2021. We’ll provide 21 creative ways for parents to initiate connection and conversation with their kids through interactive, fun activities. Parents can enter the #PowerTalk21Challenge by following MADD on Facebook (@MADD.Official), Instagram (@mothersagainstdrunkdriving), and Twitter (@MADDOnline).
One in four crashes with teenagers involve an underage drunk driver. Put people don’t have to get behind the wheel for alcohol to turn deadline or have lifelong consequences. Underage alcohol use kills 4,300 young people every year, and three out of four of these deaths don’t involve a vehicle.
Underage drinking can lead to early addiction and many other dangerous outcomes. Yet the choice to wait until at least age 21 to consume alcohol can reduce the likelihood that teens will become drunk drivers later in life or be involved in an alcohol-related crash.
To get started having these vital, intentional conversations, parents can download free Power of Parents® handbooks for parents of middle school and high school students at www.madd.org/powerofparents.