Underage Binge Drinking the New Cool

If everybody jumped off a bridge, would you? This famous question is one that also applies to underage binge drinking, with a sobering answer. The fact is, most teens indulged in binge drinking because “everyone else was”. The choice to binge drink cost South Carolina nearly $297 million in 2016 alone.

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Teens between the ages of 12 to 21 also made up 119,000 ER visits in 2013, with all those visits involving alcohol. So where are we failing our children? The simple answer is, at home. Families all over the United States have a chance to change their children’s lives and prevent these issues by simply talking to them. Just talking to your child could prevent them from becoming one of the 5,000 teens that die each year from alcohol abuse. Upstate South Carolina parents let’s take a stand to change lives for a better future!

You might be wondering, “how can you talk to a teenager?” Scary right? Imagine being their age again, feeling that immense peer pressure and having no one to talk to, because you might be uncool, or get punished. Imagine how many lives could have changed if someone had just talked to them. Parents, start the conversation early! Let your kids know it’s okay to talk to you about whatever is bothering them. Talking has not only, been shown to be mentally beneficial, but also creates a stronger bond within the family unit and may help to change a teenager’s future. Another way to shape your kids’ future is to realize how often they watch you. Teenagers watch their parents doing everything, from drinking alcohol, to simply changing a car tire. Numerous behavioral studies have been conducted showing that students coming from alcoholic backgrounds, are more likely to suffer from alcohol abuse themselves. A night of drinking at home with the buddies, can turn into your child drinking at a party and driving home. Parents have a chance to change the future and avoid potential jail time. Drinking underage is illegal and not only, damages family ties, but also costs both the drinker and the alcohol provider, their freedom. Ask yourself, is it just one drink at a party or is it really something worth receiving jail time for. As a nurse, alcohol abuse is seen first hand in the emergency/trauma centers. Stark reminders of reality that one drink at a party, can turn into a funeral within hours. Parents of upstate South Carolina students, ask yourselves, how can this be prevented?

One way to prevent this is to run a school fundraiser throughout all Greenville County Schools. Having a fundraiser allows the community to come together to unite against a cause, which costs communities too many lives each year. A 5K, a mile run, or a jogathon, allows the community to also generate funds to provide not only, for a motivational speaker, but also allows people to promote a healthier future for the next generation. School nurses also have a chance to contribute by holding seminars in gymnasiums before homecoming or prom, to educate parents and students on the severity of underage binge drinking. Education is key to saving the lives of the future generation, while also helping to pave the way for a better future for everyone. Seminars can consist of a mix of humor, along with serious moments, to cement in the minds of students and parents, just how much underage binge drinking costs.

The stark reality is, underage binge drinking costs South Carolina more than just money. This disease on the community costs countless lives each year, but there are simple changes that can reverse the deadly prognosis. Talking to your kids, involving the community, simply realizing the impact you have on children as a parent. These small changes can mean the difference between planning your children’s funeral or their graduation party. Remember the impact you have because it could change both you and your child’s life. Be that parent, the one they can talk to about anything, the parent that will be there for all of lives little accomplishments, because you remembered your impact.

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