To the editor:
Underage alcohol use increases your child’s risk for car crashes, sexual assaults, fights, falls, drownings, alcohol addiction, mental health programs and a variety of other issues including academic and financial problems.
Teens can physically drink more and longer than adults, which leads to dangerous binge drinking behavior. Brain development is going through a crucial stage during adolescence. Research has proven that daily or excessive underage alcohol can cause permanent changes in the way a teen’s brain works.
When it comes to getting caught with underage alcohol use, it is known that some parents get stuck on the immediate repercussions to college scholarships, athletic team suspensions and legal issues. In the crisis of the moment, the unintended consequences of underage use get ignored.
Ultimately, when we ask the question “Who stands between kids and alcohol?,” there is only one answer, “We do!”
Eight-three percent of teens in the United States cite their parents as the leading influence in their decision not to drink. When parents discover their teen is using alcohol, it is an opportunity to change rather than a behavior to ignore. Multiple approaches to this moment include frank discussion with your teen about the risks from underage alcohol use, logical consequences and utilizing the skill of a professional in dealing with this issue. There are many supportive, caring resources available for families in Edina.
For more information and to get involved, please contact me at at kiverson@EdinaMN.gov or call 952-929-7627.
Chemical Health Specialist, city of Edina