An important message from Lake County Behavioral Health Services.
LAKE COUNTY, CA (April 3, 2020) – April is National Alcohol Awareness Month, and it will be celebrated locally and nationally, with the aim of educating people about prevention and treatment of alcoholism, especially among our youth. This also highlights the important role parents of young adults can play in providing their children a better understanding of the impact that alcohol (and drugs) can have on their lives, and the lives of those around them.
Alcohol and drug use by young people is extremely dangerous, not only to themselves and the community at large, but is also directly associated with educational failure, violence, traffic fatalities, suicide, unsafe sex, and alcohol overdose. This even applies to those who may never develop dependence and/or addiction.
Adolescence is the prime time of elevated overall risk-taking, and as alcohol and drugs enter the picture, parents are often faced with a very unique set of challenges. Parents sometimes justify underage drinking or drug use as a “rite of passage.” Parents must adjust their attitudes and take an active role to learn about alcohol and drugs, and how to assist their kids in doing the same.
It is not always an easy task to discuss the perils of drinking and drug use with children, but is well worth the effort parents put into it. Studies have shown kids who have conversations with their parents early on and learn about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are more than 50 percent less likely to use these substances than those who did not have such discussions. This is the opportunity for parents to reinforce the fact that imbibing alcohol is not a “rite of passage.”
When parents foster a change in attitude about alcohol and drug use in both themselves and their children, it helps them all to understand drinking is not a way to be or feel independent, “cool,” or to fit in, socially. Young people can learn alcohol and drugs are not a requirement in order to have a good time, and non-use of any substance is a viable and, most importantly, the healthiest option. We must learn to honor and respect another individual’s decision not to drink alcohol.
Alcohol and drug use is a very risky business for young people, and parents are the lynchpin in making a difference. The longer young people delay alcohol and drug use, the less likely they are to develop the inherent problems associated with it.
For more information, please contact Lake County Behavioral Health Services at 707-274-9101 or 707-994-7090.