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Alcohol Abuse Prevention

Alcohol abuse prevention aims to reduce alcohol abuse and its consequences before they occur. Effective alcohol abuse prevention is targeted at today's youth, specifically teens. Alcohol abuse prevention can be acheived in many ways. Alcohol abuse prevention starts at home. There are also community and school alcohol abuse prevention programs.

Alcohol Abuse Prevention in the Home

Your children should grow up knowing what you think of alcohol, the steps you take to promote appropriate alcohol use for yourself and others, and what your expectations are for their behavior, and your example should match what you say. For a start, if alcohol is used by anyone in your home or immediate family, this should be discussed. Speaking about, for example, who will be your designated driver or your choice to take on that role shows teens how seriously you take the matter of responsible behavior.

Having discussions with your child or teen are helpful in preparation for specific occasions in which alcohol may be present, and particularly when there is the possibility that others may be using alcohol inappropriately. Events outside the home in which a teen may have access to or be offered alcohol, for example, weddings and other family celebrations, or any gathering with a bar, offer an occasion for a discussion.

Speaking to your teen about alcohol abuse prevention prior to college is also important, as this is a situation in which there is often a mix of adult and underage students and less supervision, and the temptation to use alcohol may be very strong for some students. Your discussion about college alcohol abuse prevention could cover these points:

  • Clarify that some students will legally be able to drink.
  • Discuss the choice of a "substance-free" dormitory.
  • Point out examples of non-alcoholic activities that the teen did not have access to in high school that s/he may now get involved in.
  • Discuss the campus alcohol policies and "safe ride" services or other choices that students can call on rather than traveling with anyone who is intoxicated.

It is also important that your teens know, from you and perhaps from school programs as well, the effects and dangers of alcohol use, the reasons that it is illegal for them to use alcohol, and the possible costs of defying this rule.

Alcohol Abuse Prevention Ouside the Home

Certain activities and experiences have been found to be effective alcohol abuse prevention methods. The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) report from July, 2003 makes the point that students from 12-17 who had positive responses to school and their accomplishments there were less likely to be involved in alcohol abuse. Alcohol use for students who had been the recipients of alcohol abuse prevention materials or presentations at school was slightly less than for those who hadn’t. In addition, the NHSDA report from February, 2002 found that use of alcohol was lower among student athletes who were aged 12 - 17 and engaged in team sports than in students who did not participate, as were rates of binging and heavy alcohol use that did not constitute binging.

Alcohol Abuse Prevention Devices

Alcohol Breathalyzers can be used as a form of alcohol abuse prevention. For parents that do not allow drinking, asking teens to use a breathalyzer when they get home from being out at night can give you peace of mind that your teen was abiding by your rules. For parents that want thier teens safe but allow responsible alcohol use, send the breathalyzer with them. Alcohol breathalyzers are fun to use, so yes their friends will want to use it too. Your teen can be assure that they don't have to just get into a car with someone who gave their word they are sober. They can ask them to try out the device and know for sure that the person is completely sober. Breathalyzers specially adapted for car installation are another alcohol abuse prevention tool and a way to protect lives and property. These devices are designed to prevent anyone who is intoxicated from driving the vehicle. The detection of any alcohol prevents the car from being started, and the device keeps a record of the tests. It is not fool-proof, but it is an added layer of protection.

Alcohol Abuse Prevention Assistance

There are many places to get assistance in creating an alcohol abuse prevention program for your family. Your community police department may have special officers assigned to address teen alcohol abuse. Your teen’s school may have instructors who specialize in this area. In addition, school guidance counselors, mental health agencies, and carefully chosen Internet sites can be helpful alcohol abuse prevention resources.

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