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Prevent underage drinking

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 16, 2016

Contact:  Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936

              Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391

 

DPHHS: Parents play a major role in the prevention of underage drinking

 

State health officials are encouraging parents to talk to their children about the dangers of substance abuse.

According to Vicki Turner of the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Prevention Resource Center, studies show that parental disapproval of underage drinking is the number one reason youth chose not to drink.

“Teens do listen to their parents,” Turner said. “And, they listen to their parents more than anyone else, including their friends. That’s why it’s so important that parents know this information, and then take action to start the conversation now. As a parent, stay involved because you do make a difference.”

One recent survey showcases a positive trend. In Montana, youth are reporting more parents having discussions with them about the dangers of any substances, at 42 percent in 2014, which is up from 38 percent in 2012. 

However, for this trend to continue, parents need to remain vigilant, especially when it comes to talking to their children about underage drinking.

Recent survey information shows that alcohol remains the number one drug of abuse for Montana's youth. The most recent Montana Prevention Needs Assessment Survey found 15.6 percent of 8th graders, 36.2 percent of 10th graders, and 51.1 percent of 12th graders had used alcohol within the past 30 days.

That’s why it’s vital to start the conversation early with teens about not using alcohol at an early age, Turner stresses. Vital ‘conversation starter’ information is readily available online at http://parentpower.mt.gov/resources.shtml

Turner states that a majority of parents don’t start talking to their teen about not drinking alcohol until 10th grade, but that is two years too late. “Most parents are unaware of their child’s alcohol use,” she said. “They think, ‘not my kid’. Parents first must open up the lines of communication with their children well before high school, which can often lead to a greater chance of them making healthy decisions.”

DPHHS reminds Montanans May 16-21 is National Prevention Week. National Prevention Week is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, mental and substance use disorders and the importance of primary prevention.

To keep informed about this and other public health topics, consider subscribing to DPHHS Health in the 406 messages by going to www.healthinthe406.mt.gov

Health in the 406: Focus on Prevention of Underage Drinking and Alcohol Misuse

  •    Parents, we need your help; studies show that parental disapproval of underage drinking is the number one reason youth chose not to drink alcohol
  •  Alcohol remains the number one drug of abuse for Montana's youth. In 2014, 15.6 percent of 8th graders, 36.2 percent of 10th graders, and 51.1 percent of 12th graders had used alcohol within the past 30 days.
  •    Start the conversation, talk to your teens about NOT using alcohol.