AUSTIN, Texas, April 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Texas released a new survey of Texas parents that shows the overwhelming majority of Texas parents (85 percent) believe that their teenaged children are not interested in drinking. However, national data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates that a third of eighth graders admit to drinking, and one in seven sophomores and one in four seniors say they have been drunk in the last 30 days. MADD and National Presenting Sponsor Nationwide Insurance encourage families to connect on PowerTalk 21 day — the national day on April 21st for parents to start talking with their kids about alcohol.
"These statistics demonstrate a need for more parents to talk more often with their teenaged children about the dangers of underage drinking," said Myra Constable, a single mother and widow due to a drunk driving crash. "We all think... 'it's not my kid; it won't happen to us;' but I'm here to say it can. Talking about alcohol regularly may just save your child's life."
This second annual PowerTalk 21 Day, MADD encourages parents to talk to their teens about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking as well as the harmful and deadly impact of drinking and driving at any age. For example, kids 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.
"Spring, in particular, is a time of year when teens are attending proms, graduation parties and other events where alcohol may be a temptation. The best thing parents can do is have a candid conversation with their teenagers about why they should not drink and how the consequences of underage drinking can last a lifetime," said Karen Housewright, director of field relations for MADD. Housewright also noted that April is Alcohol Awareness Month.
Research shows that parents are the No. 1 influencer when it comes to teens' decisions about alcohol. According to the most recent SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the following is a ranking of the top five ways high school age drinkers get their alcohol:
- From a parent, guardian or family member who is 21 or older (26 percent)
- From someone 21 or older who is not related to the teen (25 percent)
- From someone under 21 who is not related to the teen (22 percent)
- Took it from home (10 percent)
- Took it from someone else's home (5 percent)
"This data shows that underage drinking prevention is not only a problem for our youth. It's an adult problem too. More than half of teens who drink are getting their alcohol from adults," said Bill Windsor, Nationwide Insurance associate vice president of consumer safety. "That's why Nationwide is partnering with MADD to highlight the importance of parental involvement in keeping the next generation safe from the dangers of underage drinking."
According to MADD's survey of Texas parents, nearly half are worried about the possibility of their children drinking before turning 21, and one-quarter don't know what to do it about it. Worried or not, parents have a strong role to play in ensuring their teenagers understand the sometimes deadly consequences of drinking.
In advance of PowerTalk 21 day, MADD Texas offices offer informational materials, resources and workshops to help parents talk to their children about alcohol. Using these resources, parents can feel more confident about talking with their teens about the dangers of underage drinking.
Nationwide Insurance is the national presenting sponsor of both the Power of Parents program and PowerTalk 21 day. 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 who lost her daughter in a crash, 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, It's Your Influence® to reduce the risk of underage drinking. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every 10 minutes at 1-877-MADD-HELP. Learn more at www.madd.org or call 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) Texas