MADD Texas Asks Parents: Does Your Back to School List Include Talking to Your Teens About The Dangers Of Underage Drinking? It Should.


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New Texas survey shows most teens aren't getting their information about alcohol from home

AUSTIN, TX--Aug. 20, 2013: While making that list of back to school supplies, parents need to add in a conversation about the dangers of underage drinking with their children. New statewide data shows that while parents are the leading influence on their children's decisions about drinking, a majority of children are not getting the message about the dangers of drinking alcohol from home. In a recent survey of underage Texas youth, 62 percent reported that they get their information about the dangers of alcohol from either TV or school. Before your teens head off to school, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) encourages parents to talk with their children about alcohol using the tools provided in their Power of Parents program.

"Texas teens are not getting the message about the dangers of underage drinking from their parents. Television and schools are filling the gap, yet parents remain the number one influencer when it comes to alcohol," said Jaime Gutierrez, MADD State Director. "As students head back to school, this is a perfect time for parents to talk with their teens about the dangers of underage drinking. Nothing beats the positive influence of a parent."

Underage Texas youth report that access to alcohol is as easy as ever. Many underage kids report that not only is it easy for kids their age to get alcohol, but a majority believe their peers are regularly getting drunk. In fact, four out of five underage students (80 percent) say it's easy to get alcohol. At the same time, nearly 9 out of 10 (86 percent) underage students believe it is at least a somewhat common experience for their peers to get drunk.

Further, underage Texas students report that they feel prepared to handle that peer pressure, but they are worried about their friends. A large majority of students surveyed were not concerned about peer pressure to drink or participate in similar illegal behavior. At the same time, they were much more likely to say they were worried about their friends facing similar peer pressure (42 percent expressed concern for friends while only 23 percent were personally concerned). And in spite of reporting that they are not worried about their ability to handle peer pressure, nearly half (47 percent) of students report that students who are drinking are at least somewhat likely to end up riding with a drunk driver.

"Our underage youth appear to be telling us that they feel equipped to handle peer pressure around alcohol, yet many are worried about their friends," Gutierrez added. "Parents can make a huge difference just by talking to their kids. Engaging in conversations with our teens can help empower them to not only avoid drinking themselves, but possibly encourage friends not to drink."

Teen alcohol use kills about 5,000 people each year, more than all other illegal drugs combined. MADD encourages parents to use the organization's Power of Parents handbook to help in having these conversations with their children. MADD's community-based parent program, Power of Parents, was developed and launched with the national sponsorship of Nationwide Insurance. MADD has partnered with Dr. Robert Turrisi from Pennsylvania State University and adapted his handbook model to reach parents of high school students. The parent handbook is the cornerstone of this community-based program and is available free to communities through the website and through 30-minute parent workshops facilitated by trained MADD staff and volunteers.

In Texas, MADD is helping parents engage in a conversation with their children about the dangers of underage drinking by hosting workshops for parents in local areas and webinars across the state. To participate in a webinar, visit www.madd.org/tx for more information.

For more information about Power of Parents or to download materials, parents should visit Power of Parents.

The Power of Parents program in Texas is partially funded through the Texas Department of Transportation to help reduce incidence of drunk driving and underage drinking.

Survey Methodology This online survey was conducted across Texas markets, including the greater metropolitan areas of Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. A link to the survey was emailed by ResearchNow to prospective respondents who belong to ResearchNow's eRewards market research panel beginning July 17, 2013, and data collection concluded on July 23, 2013. The study was conducted with a total of 300 Texas students between the ages of 16 and 20 who were enrolled in either high school or some form of higher education.

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