Today, on Katie Couric’s show the subject of adults providing alcohol to underage kids was discussed. During the show they revealed that kids 12-20 drink 11% of all the alcohol sold in the United States. That is a surprisingly high statistic and should concern anybody who hears it.
The Century Council is no stranger to the issue of underage drinking as we have been fighting it for more than 23 years. Underage drinking is at an all-time low in the United States; alcohol consumption among eighth graders has dropped 59% since our inception in 1991 and the perception among youth that it is easy to obtain alcohol has dropped by 25% among 8th graders. Given that our Ask, Listen, Learn program focusing middle kids and their parents is the most widely distributed alcohol education program of its kind, we take great pride in ownership regarding the role we continue to play in this fight.
That said, kids continue to get older and the conversations must continue.
We know that, among teens who reported drinking (in the past month) and did not pay for the alcohol (72%), 51% say they obtain the alcohol they drink from family and friends.
We know parents wield the most influence over their kids’ decisions to drink – and not to drink.
We know that we must reach parents early and often, providing the tools to build a strong foundation for ongoing conversations with their child starting early and continuing through middle school, high school, and college.
Lastly, we know that parents must be good role models for their teens. We have a program for that, too. Further, parents must insure that their teens obey the legal drinking age. The law is the law.
We applaud Katie Couric for her show today as any attention brought to this issue means more awareness and lives transformed for the better and even saved.
Photo Credit: http://katiecouric.com/