Teens and drinkingGraduation is a time to celebrate. But before the party starts, a government task force on drinking among you people wants parents to take the time to talk with your graduates about the dangers of misusing alcohol.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Task Force on College Drinking produces research and resources about this public health issue and disseminates it to parents and high school and college administrators.

According to NIAAA – which is part of the the National Institutes of Health (NIH) -- A teenager's brain is still developing and is very sensitive to alcohol's effects on judgment and decision-making.

If your graduates drink, they may temporarily feel elated and happy, but they should not be fooled. Ask them to consider these risks:

Their inhibitions and memory soon become affected—so they may say and do things that they will regret and possibly will not remember doing at all.

Their decision-making skills are also affected. They may become restless and aggressive. They may be more at risk for having an alcohol-related traffic crash, getting into ?ghts, trashing a house, or making unwise decisions about sex.

Then there is what happens to their physical control—loss of balance, slurred speech, and blurred vision. Even normal activities—like crossing a busy intersection—can become more dangerous.

Too Much Alcohol Becomes a Deadly Poison…
If your partygoers drink enough, they will eventually get sleepy and pass out. Reflexes like gagging and breathing can be suppressed. That means they could vomit and choke to death or just stop breathing. They may even be at risk for alcohol poisoning.

Think About It!
Drinking too much can mean trips to the emergency room, arrests, and sexual assaults. Your students could put themselves and their friends in real danger. Ask them to consider this: Is that any way to celebrate?

Talking With Your Graduate…
Research shows that parents do make a difference. Talking with your graduate about alcohol now could help prevent a life-changing mistake.

A Word About Alcohol Poisoning
Thousands of students are transported to the ER each year for alcohol poisoning, which occurs when high levels of alcohol suppress the nervous and respiratory systems, and the body struggles to rid itself of toxins produced from the breakdown of alcohol. Signs of this dangerous condition can include:

  • Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or the person cannot be roused
  • Vomiting
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Hypothermia or low body temperature, bluish or pale skin

Alcohol poisoning can lead to permanent brain damage or death, so a person showing any of these signs requires immediate medical attention. Don't wait. Call 911 if you suspect alcohol poisoning.

Tell your graduate to play it safe and party right at graduation.

For information about alcohol abuse and binge drinking among college students, online tools for parents, students, administrators and more, visit www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov