FROM THE OFFICE OF GOVERNOR PAT MCCRORY
Duke Researcher: “It becomes the job of responsible adults in kids’ lives to help provide the restraint that their own brains often can’t.”
Raleigh, N.C.—Researchers from Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill presented their report on the effects of alcohol on the brains of young people to the Governor’s Substance Abuse and Underage Drinking Prevention and Treatment Task Force today. Governor Pat McCrory requested the report in December.
The report, “Alcohol & The Adolescent Brain: Immediate Impairment, Long-Term Consequences,” details the unique characteristics of the developing adolescent brain, and how alcohol affects the adolescent brain differently from the brain of an adult.
“We need to help parents understand the effects of alcohol on their child’s greatest asset, their developing brain, and how they can help protect it by having conversations with their children about the dangers of underage drinking,” said Governor McCrory.
According to the report, adolescents are less sensitive to the sedative effects of alcohol than adults; making them more likely to binge drink, which can lead to risky behavior, violence, unsafe sex and blackouts. Scientific evidence shows that underage drinking can damage the parts of the brain responsible for judgment, reasoning, impulse control, learning and memory.
“Adolescent brains are not the same as adult brains. Their brains aren’t broken—they’re a work in progress,” said Dr. Wilkie Wilson, Research Professor of Prevention Science, Social Science Research Institute, Duke University. “It becomes the job of responsible adults in kids’ lives to help provide the restraint that their own brains often can’t.”
“You have one brain. It controls everything you’ll do for all your life—protect it and treat it with respect,” added Dr. Wilson.
This report will be used in ongoing statewide efforts to reduce underage drinking, and educate and empower parents to talk with their children. Studies consistently show that parental communication can delay the initiation of alcohol consumption, and help kids make positive decisions across the board.
“On behalf of the Task Force and the North Carolina ABC Commission, I want to thank Governor McCrory for his dedication to tackling the underage drinking problem in our state,” said N.C. ABC Commission Chairman Jim Gardner. “There’s still much work to be done to shift this culture. And this report will be a valuable resource as we continue our efforts through the Talk It Out campaign to educate parents on this important issue.”
Members of the research team include:
- Dr. Cindy Kuhn—Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Psychology and Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center
- Dr. Donita L. Robinson—Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Dr. Wilkie (Bill) Wilson—Research Professor of Prevention Science, Social Science Research Institute, Duke University
- Dr. Fulton Crews— John Andrews Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry, Director of the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
To read the full report, click here.