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Underage Drinking Peaks in Summer, Says New Research from Caron Treatment Centers

28/06/2013 08:38 (294 Day 04:24 minutes ago)


The FINANCIAL -- The Fourth of July is a time to barbecue, celebrate and spend time with friends and family; however,83% of Americans aged 18-40 believe it's the leading summer holiday for excess drinking, a new survey by Caron Treatment Centers reveals. Correspondingly, 61% identified summer as the season teens are most likely to engage in underage drinking.


78% tried alcohol for the first time when they were underage. Of those, 36% had their first experience with alcohol before age 16, including 10% before age 12; only 2/5 indicate their parents had a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking, according to Harris Interactive Inc.


"There's still a pervasive misconception that underage drinking is an acceptable rite of passage - when it's actually extremely dangerous to the developing adolescent brain and can have deadly consequences," said Tammy Granger, Corporate Director of Student Assistance Programs at Caron. "Many parents feel there's nothing they can do to prevent underage drinking, but research shows teens are highly influenced by their parents' behavior. It's critical to consistently demonstrate habits, values and messages that we'd like to see our children adopt," Granger added.


While 63% of U.S. adults 18-40 expressed concern about the availability of alcohol to teenagers, a surprising 41% believed it's best for teenagers to learn to 'drink responsibly' in high-school rather than waiting until they're of legal age. Teenagers are unable to 'drink responsibly' because their brains are simply not capable of making such decisions - especially when impaired, says the report.


Mary, a 27-year-old Caron Renaissance alumna, remembers the underage drinking culture at her Long Island, New York high-school. Now four years sober, she believes too many parents allow their children to drink alcohol at home as a way of 'keeping an eye on them' - but in hindsight, she believes it's the wrong message to send.

"I understand parents are trying to protect their children, but unfortunately, it doesn't really work that way," said Mary. "Your kids are engaging in crazy and destructive behavior. The fact that it's happening under your roof doesn't make it safer or better for them," she added.

With new dangers emerging every day for teens, such as prescription drug abuse, a soft stance on underage drinking may convey that illegal behavior will be tolerated. Through its centers, Caron has observed that many teens and young adults who enter treatment first drank alcohol before later abusing prescription drugs and other substances, according to Harris Interactive Inc.

"It's really important for teens and young adults to have sober role models to emulate and understand that there's a community of young people who live amazing lives without alcohol or drugs," said Mary. "There's a tremendous amount of pressure today - and the influence of supportive and decisive adults, with a clear set of boundaries and rules, is invaluable," she added.



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