Every year North Carolina loses a hundred young people to underage drinking – two kids per week. Many parents and community leaders this figure is intolerable. And now, the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission wants to do something about it.
This month the Commission began a dialogue with community leaders to remind them about their campaign to raise awareness of underage drinking. The Commission maintains a site, talkitoutnc.org, which offers parents tips on how to talk to their kids about alcohol.
The site presents some dire facts, such as the information that kids, on average, try alcohol for the first time before they are 14. Worse, North Carolina parents are less likely than their kids to view underage drinking as a problem.
In addition to these facts, talkitoutnc.org offers helpful advice to parents on the subject, including the need to start the conversation early – before age eight – and to talk about the subject often. Neither of those tactics come naturally to many parents, so it’s important to use the site’s info to approach the task systematically.
The Commission has also produced some excellent, disturbing video ads, aimed at parents. They center around a parent’s worst nightmare – the death of a child – and do it effectively.
Peer pressure is a tough nut to crack, but parents’ efforts appear to be the only line of defense against it. Kudos to North Carolina ABC Commission for starting the conversation.