AUSTIN, Texas, April 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As prom and graduations approach, new statewide data shows that Texas parents may not realize the prevalence of underage drinking, and the risks associated with underage drinking may be greater than many realize. This April 21st – PowerTalk 21® day – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and National Presenting Sponsor Nationwide Insurance encourage parents to start talking with their children about alcohol.
"Parents are the number one influence on their children when it comes to alcohol," said Jan Withers, MADD National President. "That's why on April 21st, we are calling on all parents to talk with their children about alcohol, and we're giving them the tools make those conversations easier."
For the second year in a row, according to a MADD survey, 85 percent of Texas parents say their children aren't interested in alcohol. However, national data shows that almost half of all 10th graders drink alcohol and one in six teens binge drink.
The risks associated with underage drinking are also troubling. Children who drink alcohol before age 21 are more likely to face problems in school, be assaulted, abuse alcohol later in life, drown or fall, or die in a car crash. And, a new MADD analysis of data estimates that two-thirds of the deaths attributable to underage drinking are not traffic related. MADD estimates that 32 percent of all deaths related to underage (age 15-20) alcohol use were traffic fatalities and 68 percent were other fatal incidents, including homicides (30 percent), suicides (14 percent), alcohol poisonings (9 percent) and other causes of death (15 percent). Parents who think their children are safe because they have agreed not to drink and drive are actually only preventing about a third of the risks associated with underage drinking.
"Drunk driving continues to be a huge problem among adults and teens," Withers added. "Parents need to know that taking away the keys doesn't take away the risk. We have to get to the heart of the problem when it comes to those under 21 – preventing teens from any drinking at all."
PowerTalk 21 encourages parents to use the organization's Power of Parents handbook to help in having these conversations with their children. MADD's community-based parent program, Power of Parents, was developed and launched with the national sponsorship of Nationwide Insurance. MADD has partnered with Dr. Robert Turrisi from Pennsylvania State University and adapted his handbook model to reach parents of high school students. The parent handbook is the cornerstone of this community-based program and is available free to communities through the website and through 30-minute parent workshops facilitated by trained MADD staff and volunteers.
In Texas, MADD is helping parents prepare for PowerTalk 21 by hosting workshops for parents in local areas and webinars across the state at the following times:
- Wednesday, April 17, 7 p.m. CT – English
- Friday, April 19, 7 p.m. CT – English
- Saturday, April 20, 11 a.m. CT – Spanish
Saturday, April 20, 1 p.m. CT – English
Nationwide Insurance is the national presenting sponsor for the Power of Parents program. In Texas, PowerTalk 21 is supported by the Texas Department of Transportation through the Take the Wheel program. For more information about Power of Parents and PowerTalk 21, or to download materials and find out about local workshops in Texas, parents should visit www.madd.org/tx.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation's largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end this danger on America's roads. PowerTalk 21® is the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol, using the proven strategies of Power of Parents® to reduce the risk of underage drinking. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every eight minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. Learn more at www.madd.org or by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor's. The company provides customers a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto insurance, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, pet, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and specialty health services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.
Nationwide, the Nationwide frame mark, and On Your Side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.
SOURCE Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)