RALEIGH, N.C. (April 1, 2023) – Talk it Out NC, the North Carolina initiative to prevent underage drinking, is joining forces with Governor Roy Cooper as he raises awareness about alcohol misuse.
On April 10th, Governor Cooper issued a proclamation announcing April as Alcohol Awareness Month. He shared that excessive drinking is the third leading cause of preventable death and costs the state $9.7 billion a year in health care expenses.
To combat alcohol-related dangers, Talk it Out NC is working with organizations like NABCA, CADCA, and PTTC to educate families and encourage adults to take the time to have frequent, open, and judgement-free conversations with their teens about the negative consequences of underage drinking.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls underage drinking a “significant public health problem in the United States.” A 2022 study from the CDC revealed excessive and binge drinking took nearly 4,000 lives across the country and 225,000 years of potential life from people under 21.
“While it’s imperative to talk to your children year-round about the consequences of underage drinking, Alcohol Awareness Month provides parents and guardians a way to start the conversation,” said Burna Mattocks, Director of Special Services for the North Carolina ABC Commission’s Talk it Out NC Campaign.
“Underage drinking can lead to many negative consequences, such as school and legal problems, misuse of other substances, mental health issues, and more.”
With prom and graduation around the corner, Regional Ambassadors will focus their efforts on helping parents navigate difficult conversations with their children about underage drinking.
5 Tips to Prevent Underage Drinking:
- Set an Example—Practice healthy drinking habits around your children and initiate open conversations about how to drink alcohol responsibly.
- Build a Buddy System—Encourage your children to find friends who also think underage drinking is a bad decision. This can help your child overcome the peer pressure to drink alcohol in social settings.
- Teach Your Teen the Text X-Plan – Use the X-Plan to get your teen out of a risky situation while preventing them from losing face with their friends. This plan is as simple as letting your child know they can text you a single letter (X) and you’ll call to get them out of the situation and pick them up — no questions asked.
- Discuss emotions – Talking to teens about their feelings can help them understand how to regulate difficult emotions instead of turning to substances later in life. Use the “Look for the Good Project,” a nonprofit website offering community-based healing strategies for elementary school communities, to learn how to break down complex emotions through engaging exercises.
- Communicate with Other Adults: If your child plans a sleepover or social gathering, talk to their friends’ parents to make sure everyone is on the same page about preventing underage drinking.
National Alcohol Awareness Month was established in 1987 to increase understanding of alcohol addiction and its causes. In addition, this month serves as an opportunity to share information about recovery and treatment options.