Locally, Chautauqua Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Council (CASAC) and the Chautauqua County Underage Drinking Task Force have partnered to promote awareness of the lifesaving laws that protect our youth from alcohol.
The "Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don't be a party to teenage drinking campaign message developed by the Drug-Free Action Alliance, aims to provide parents with accurate information about the health risks of underage drinking and the legal consequences of providing alcohol to youth. The message is focused toward prom and graduation parties.
Parents play a major role in their children's choices about alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. In a recent national survey of parents and teens by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, one-third of teen partygoers have been to parties where teens were drinking alcohol, smoking pot, or using cocaine, Ecstasy or prescription drugs while a parent was present.
In a Chautauqua County survey conducted by CASAC in 2011, 30.6 percent of 11th graders and 40.9 percent of 12th graders indicated they had used alcohol in the past 30 days; 25.2 percent of 11th and 12th graders had participated in binge drinking; and 68.6 percent of students surveyed think there is little or no risk associated with using alcohol Also, a majority of teens surveyed said that it is generally easy for underage youth to get alcohol.
"Scientific research shows the serious and damaging effects of alcohol on the developing brain of youth under the age of 21," says Patricia Z. Munson, Executive Director of CASAC. "This campaign educates parents about the laws and safety risks involved in underage drinking parties, and encourages a unified message that teen alcohol consumption is unhealthy, unsafe and unacceptable."
Adolescence can be a wonderful time filled with physical and emotional growth. For some, however, adolescence takes a dark turn, especially when underage alcohol use is involved.
Underage drinking is a leading contributor to death from injuries, which are the main cause of death for people under age 21. Annually, about 5,000 people under age 21 die from alcohol-related injuries involving underage drinking. About 1,900 of the 5,000 deaths involve motor vehicle crashes, about 1,600 result from homicides, and about 300 result from suicides.
Underage alcohol use increases the risk of academic failure, illicit drug use, and tobacco use. It can cause a range of physical consequences, from hangovers to death from alcohol poisoning. It can cause alterations in the structure and function of the developing brain, which continues to mature into the mid to late 20s, and may have consequences reaching far beyond adolescence.3
Since 1974, Chautauqua Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Council (CASAC), a not-for-profit United Way supported agency, has been dedicated to providing prevention education and community awareness pertaining to alcohol, other drugs and related high-risk behaviors. CASAC is the only New York State Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) approved and supported alcohol and other drug prevention agency in Chautauqua County. CASAC is one of forty community based councils across the state and one of over two-hundred nationwide. For further information about CASAC programs and services, call the Jamestown office at 664-3608, the Dunkirk office at 366-4623, or go to CASAC's website, www.casacweb.org.
The "Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don't be a party to teenage drinking" campaign is a program of Drug-Free Action Alliance with funding from the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services. More information is available at www.DrugFreeActionAlliance.org.