Albany, NY — New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Commissioner Karen M. Carpenter-Palumbo announced a new state Web site, "Talk2Prevent.com," and public service announcement to help parents talk to kids about the dangers of underage drinking. The parent campaign was unveiled at the Addictions Care Center of Albany's 2nd Annual Start Smart Field Day, celebrating 16 years of providing substance abuse prevention education to area schools.
Governor David A. Paterson said, "Underage drinking is illegal, dangerous, and may even pose life-threatening consequences among our children. I encourage all parents to reach out to the community resources available across the state and work together to help youth make healthy choices in life."
Commissioner Carpenter-Palumbo said, "We know that alcohol remains the No. 1 drug of choice among young people. In fact, one out of three 13-year-olds in New York has tried alcohol. Remember, parents remain the No. 1 influence in their child's life. To better prepare parents on how to address underage drinking, this new Web site and PSA lets parents know they are not alone—there are community resources available to help them have this conversation, which may just save their child's life."
The new Web site, which features the PSA, also includes a fact sheet containing statistics and helpful tips, as well as other resources available to help parents reach out to community members and communicate to their child on underage drinking. The campaign was created to inspire parents of middle and high school students and provide them with support that will help them keep their child safe.
Talking to adolescents about underage drinking is challenging, and parents may feel as though they are not ready to have this conversation. Prevention providers, teachers, doctors, clergy members, and law enforcement are some of the community members who can help parents with the resources they need to have this conversation. Other prevention resources for parents in this campaign include, an extensive prevention network, including 213 prevention providers and 279 prevention programs taking place in local schools and communities statewide.
Commissioner Carpenter-Palumbo continued, "Talking to your child about underage drinking can be difficult and kids begin drinking earlier than parents sometimes think. It is important the conversation begins early and at home—kids who learn about the dangers of alcohol at home are up to 50 percent less likely to use."
Alcohol affects the mind and body in often unpredictable ways. Teens lack the judgment and coping skills to handle alcohol wisely. Underage drinking can lead to unplanned and unprotected sexual activity, poor school performance, driving while intoxicated, and even death. In addition, underage drinking can hinder brain, organ, bone and muscle development, along with long-term memory and learning skills.
The campaign was funded by the Federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) Block Grant. The campaign materials will be sent to more than 230 prevention providers throughout the state for utilization with their parent and community outreach efforts.
OASAS oversees one of the nation's largest addiction services systems dedicated to Prevention, Treatment and Recovery, with more than 1,700 programs serving over 110,000 New Yorkers on any given day. Through efforts such as the Your Story Matters campaign at www.iamrecovery.com, the agency hopes to foster a movement of recovery, one that sheds the stigma and promotes a life of health and wellness.