Parents urged to discuss underage drinking with kids

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(Host) The spring prom and graduation season is one of the most dangerous for young Vermonters who use alcohol.
VPR’s Nina Keck reports on efforts to reduce the number of alcohol-related deaths among under-aged drinkers.

(Keck) Vermont typically ranks among the states with the highest number of underage drinkers. But according to the Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey, alcohol consumption by minors in Vermont has dropped significantly in the last ten years. Barbara Cimaglio, deputy commissioner for the state’s alcohol and drug abuse program says more needs to be done and parents need to know communication is key to helping kids make safe choices.

(Cimaglio) “It’s not uncommon for children as young as 9 or 10 to begin using alcohol. So children need to know basic information – What is alcohol and how does it affect your body? – The fact that it is a drug and it does alter your brain and your body. Children see people on television and in the movies drinking alcohol – they see the positives, they see the social effects but they don’t see the negatives so it’s important for parents to give children very clear and scientific info on the effects of alcohol.”

(Keck) Cimaglio says parents also need to talk about the unwanted violence and sexual activity that is often connected with drinking.

(Cimaglio) “A lot of kids don’t think about that but they do know kids at school who have been in those situations.”

(Keck) With prom and graduation coming up, she says schools, parents and communities should set up alcohol free parties for kids and talk ahead of time about what the rules are.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck.

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