A new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates that 5.9 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 14 drank alcohol in the past month, and that the vast majority of them (93.4 percent) received their alcohol for free the last time they drank. About 317,000 (44.8 percent) 12 to 14 year olds who drank in the past month received their alcohol for free from their family or at home. This includes 15.7 percent (or an estimated 111,000) who were provided alcohol for free by their parents or guardians.
SAMHSA Data Spotlight: Young Alcohol Users Often Get Alcohol from Family or Home is based on the combined data from SAMHSA’s 2006 to 2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), and involves responses from more than 44,000 respondents ages 12 to 14. NSDUH is a primary source of information on national use of tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs (including non-medical use of prescription drugs) and mental health in the United States. The survey is part of the agency’s strategic initiative on behavioral health data, quality and outcomes. A copy of the report is accessible at: http://oas.samhsa.gov/spotlight/Spotlight022YouthAlcohol.pdf.
There have been several news stories about whether or not parents should provide alcohol to their children, including an interview, Should Parents Let Their Teens Drink at Home, and Dad, I prefer the Shiraz by the Wall Street Journal. The legality of parents providing alcohol vary by state, and in 19 states it is unlawful for parents to provide alcohol to minors. In addition to the potential legal consequences associated with providing alcohol to minors, brain research suggests that learning and memory functions are affected much more by minors than by adults. Additionally, research indicates that teen drinkers perform poorly more often in school, and have an increased risk for social problems. Additional information about the effects of alcohol on the teen brain are available in the Drug-Free Action Alliance position paper, Keep the Minimum Drinking Age at 21., by Today Show’s Matt Lauer
SOURCE: Drug-Free Action Alliance
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