A new study from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) finds that 68% of teen deaths attributed to alcohol use are not occurring on the roads. MADD writes that this shows the importance of preventing underage drinking, even if there is no driving involved. Every year, about 4,700 people die because of underage drinking, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, MADD reports in a press release.
The study, released on April 17 in advance of MADD’s annual Power Talk 21 Day (which takes place on April 21), is based on 2010 data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It finds that most alcohol-related teen deaths are due to such factors as homicides, suicides, and alcohol poisoning. Traffic fatalities comprised 32% of all deaths related to drinking among people aged 15-20, MADD writes, whereas homicides represented 30%, suicides 14%, alcohol poisonings 9%, and other causes of death, 15%.
Amanda Woerner writes for Fox News that MADD launched Power Talk 21 Day two years ago to encourage parents to talk to their kids about drinking. She quotes Jan Withers, the national president of MADD: “It is really a day to draw attention to the information we have available to parents, to help them start talking about underage drinking, and the dangers of it, with their children.”
Parents can download a free, research-based instruction booklet, “Power of Parents,” from MADD’s website: http://www.madd.org/underage-drinking/powertalk-21/. The link also provides conversation starters and tips.
MADD developed the handbook with Dr. Robert Turrisi, of Pennsylvania State University, who has conducted more than two decades of research on underage drinking. Dr. Turrisi’s research finds that it is possible to reduce underage drinking even in households with below-average communication, MADD writes.
Withers told FoxNews that the real key is for parents and teens to have ongoing, respectful communication: “Don’t just assume that they know because you’ve had the discussion. The key is to continually have that conversation.”
MADD is offering free 30-minute workshops for parents across the U.S.:
These 30-minute workshops are designed to inform parents and other parental figures about the importance of frequent, ongoing communication about alcohol, in order to reduce underage drinking and its associated dangers. To contact your local MADD Affiliate, visit: http://www.madd.org/local-offices/.
The organization was founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, and is the nation’s largest nonprofit in the U.S. working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP.