Washington, DC.,–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–Feb. 23, 2004–Childhood drinking is a serious problem in the United States. Two in five ninth graders say they had an alcoholic drink before they were 13 and more than one in five eighth graders has been drunk at least once. Now there is a guide for parents, teachers and community members that explains the effects of early alcohol use. Created by the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free, the guide is available in English and Spanish online at http://www.alcoholfreechildren.org in a PDF or HTML format. It also can be ordered from the Leadership’s website.
The user-friendly guide, “How Does Alcohol Affect the World of a Child?,” provides startling statistics about underage drinking. It gives facts about the effects of childhood drinking on the family, child, community and school, and its impact on children’s health and safety, as well as society. The guide also provides results from surveys and polls that gauge children’s feelings on drinking and their access to alcohol. One study finds that 68 percent of eighth graders and 85 percent of tenth graders believe that alcohol is readily available to them for consumption.
“The number of children who have had a drink before they were age 13 is shocking. This guide provides important information about childhood drinking. It is a tool that can be used to open the lines of communication about a serious issue that deserves immediate attention from parents, teachers and the community to protect our most valuable resource – our children,” said Columba Bush, First Lady of Florida and Co-Chair of the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free. “Childhood drinking can easily escalate. It causes immediate physical and emotional consequences for a child as well as long-term damage that can last into adulthood.”
The guide also challenges parents, teachers and the community to ask themselves several questions about what they know regarding alcohol and children. Questions include: Do you know how to discuss alcohol use with your child and where to get information to help you? Has your school or community assessed student drinking to determine the extent of the problem? The guide uses these questions to encourage parents to talk to their children about alcohol and think about developing community educational programs and policies to prevent children from drinking. The guide is supplemented by information at http://www.alcoholfreechildren.org, including a “What You Can Do” section for parents, educators, health care providers and other community members.
Founded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free is a unique coalition of Governors’ spouses, Federal agencies, and public and private organizations committed to preventing the use of alcohol by children ages nine to 15.