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StopAlcoholAbuse.Gov is a comprehensive portal of Federal resources for information on underage drinking and ideas for combating this issue. People interested in underage drinking prevention—including parents, educators, community-based organizations, and youth—will find a wealth of valuable information here.

There are three action guides--specifically for families, communities, and educators--based on The Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking (PDF 1MB). These guides highlight what each group can do to reduce underage alcohol use in America and help prevent the problems underage drinking causes.

In addition, the Start Talking Before They Start Drinking: A Family Guide provides facts and practical advice on how to talk with your children about underage drinking. This guide helps you create household rules to support your values.

Follow these links to locate information on each publication:

Start Talking Before They Start Drinking - www.stopalcoholabuse.gov

What's New

Help Youth Play It Safe During Prom and Graduation Season

Across the Nation, 15 million high school students are planning prom and graduation events. Now’s the time for parents, educators, and communities to ensure that underage drinking prevention is part of those plans. Among the resources available are a flyer, sample discussion points and activities, event planning guide, and a brochure targeted to youth.

Many Youth Are Getting Prevention Messages From Parents

A new National Survey on Drug Use and Health Report illuminates the important role of parents in underage drinking prevention, especially with the decline in messages received through media. The proportion of adolescents exposed to drug or alcohol use prevention messages through print and broadcast media declined from 83.2 percent in 2002 to 77.9 percent in 2007. In 2007, 59.6 percent of the youth talked with at least one parent about the dangers of substance use, compared with 58.1 percent in 2002. Adolescents ages 12 to 17 years who had conversations with parents about the dangers were less likely to have used alcohol in the past month than those who did not.

Helpful resources for parents:

Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center's National Electronic Seminar
Adolescent Development and Alcohol: Brain, Body, Behavior and Cultural Context
April 23, 2009 3:00 - 4:15 p.m. (EST)

In part two of their look at the interaction between alcohol and the developing adolescent brain, the presenters will discuss not only the latest research on the pre-adolescent and adolescent brain, but also other aspects of adolescent physiology and psychosocial development and how they interact in response to alcohol exposure. This information can help enhance work with law enforcement, parents, communities and decision makers. Given developmental determinants, the question of how teens would be expected to interpret conflicting environmental messages underscores the need to be even more focused on environmental strategies. Join UDETC on the cutting edge of research as it applies to your prevention and enforcement efforts.

To sign up for the free seminar, visit UDETC's website at www.UDETC.org.

2009 Reach Out Now Materials Available Online

Reach Out Now: Poster Reach Out Now: Poster/Teaching Guide Reach Out Now: Bonus Worksheets Reach Out Now: Family Pages
(PDF 15 MB) (PDF 7 MB) (PDF 7 MB) (PDF 5 MB)

The 2009 Reach Out Now materials, developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in collaboration with Scholastic Inc., are now available online to view and download. Reach Out Now provides school-based underage alcohol use prevention materials for fifth- and sixth-grade students, their families, and their teachers. These underage drinking prevention classroom materials feature lessons and worksheets, an interactive wall poster, bonus skill-building activity worksheets, and family activity pages.

Alcohol Awareness Month: Planting Underage Drinking Prevention Messages

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. It’s also planting season and a good time for parents and other caring adults to sow clear no-use messages that can help prevent underage drinking. The list below offers information, messages, and publications that can help you raise children who make smart and healthy decisions about alcohol.

Underage alcohol use facts for parents

What families can do to help prevent underage alcohol use

Make a Difference: Talk to Your Child About Alcohol
MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Talk to your child about Alcohol

More resources for families

Alcohol Awareness Month: Underage Drinking Prevention Opportunity

Communities observe Alcohol Awareness Month each April to draw attention to problems related to alcohol abuse and to inform people about resources that can help. For many communities, the annual observance is a way to focus on underage drinking prevention. This year, thousands of schools and community-based organizations (CBOs) are helping to prevent underage drinking by participating in the national Reach Out Now initiative. (See separate news item about Reach Out Now Teach-Ins below.)

CBOs also can use the free Reach Out Now materials developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention to increase awareness about underage alcohol use and the importance of prevention. They can describe the underage drinking problem in their community in a letter to the editor or an opinion-editorial. They can ask their mayor or other top official to issue a proclamation about Alcohol Awareness Month. They can cite key underage drinking facts and adapt the samples in the Reach Out Now Teach-In media package. Individuals and families can also use the materials to learn about the dangers underage alcohol use poses to our youth and share with others what they’ve learned. Everyone can be part of this month-long observance to help prevent harms—including injury and death—that all too often are the result of underage drinking.

Reach Out Now/Reach Out Now Teach-Ins

The Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) is sponsoring the Reach Out Now (RON) underage drinking prevention initiative in communities across the Nation. CSAP has collaborated with Scholastic Inc. to develop and disseminate effective school-based underage alcohol use prevention materials to participating fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms across the Nation in March. Schools are encouraged to use the materials during the Alcohol Awareness Month observance in April.

In addition, CSAP is supporting and encouraging community-based organizations (CBOs) to collaborate with schools in conducting Reach Out Now Teach-Ins. CBOs are responsible for inviting prominent community leaders such as mayors and local celebrities to deliver classroom presentations. They also conduct media outreach, thereby increasing community awareness of the underage drinking issue.

Teach-In leaders use a specially designed lesson plan that is interactive and engaging. Experience has shown that Teach-Ins led by community leaders encourage broader use of RON materials by youth, teachers, and parents.

Learn more about the national Teach-In and see samples of the Reach Out Now materials. CBOs can sign up to conduct a Teach-In.

Underage Drinking Prevention Town Hall Meetings

State/Territory Profiles Now Available

Last year, every State, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories participated in Town Hall Meetings (THMs) to help prevent and reduce underage drinking. Altogether, more than 1,600 community-based organizations (CBOs) held a THM as part of this national effort. Meeting summaries for individual States and Territories are now available.

Posted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the profiles are based on feedback from 86 percent of the CBOs. Tables, charts, and graphs present information on participation by youth and adults, number of meetings, communities where meetings were held, and highlights of events. Major actions resulting from the efforts of local communities include discussions and follow-up meetings as well as plans for legislation, THMs and future events, and other activities.

Key Resources for Families

A Family Guide To Keeping Youth Mentally & Drug Free

The Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking: What It Means to You: A Guide for Families.
Available to order or download (PDF - 899 KB)

A Guide to Action for Families

MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Talk to your child about Alcohol (PDF - 774 KB)

MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Talk to your child about Alcohol

New Business Audience Added

Check out the new Business category in the red audience sections above! Businesses can have a strong influence over youth in preventing underage drinking in their communities. Click here to see how.

New Data Show Drinking Age Laws Saved 4,441 Lives Over 5 Years

Minimum 21-year-old drinking age laws prevented an estimated 4,441 drunken driving deaths in the last five years alone, according to a new report released Nov. 6. NHTSA Acting Administrator David Kelly, who presented the report at a symposium on the subject led by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) said, “Turning our back on these laws would be a deadly mistake. Minimum drinking age laws are among the most effective measures ever used to reduce drunken driving deaths among America's young people.”
Read the Report (PDF 366KB)
An Examination of the Criticisms of the Minimum Legal Drinking Age 21 Laws in the U.S. from a Traffic-Safety Perspective (PDF 244KB)

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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
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Last Reviewed on 5/4/2009