Prom and Graduation Time Dangerous Season for Teens

Teen in Tuxedo
Prom & Graduation Safety Needed. © Getty Images

Of all the alcohol-related fatalities involving teens each year, about one-third of them take place during April, May and June - prom and graduation season.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics that means approximately 1,000 children under the age 21 die each year in preventable tragedies while celebrating their high school proms and graduations.

Therefore, efforts to prevent underage drinking, particularly at prom-graduation time, is critical, public health officials say.

A survey conducted by The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (formerly The Century Council) revealed that more than half of the respondent's ages 13-20 years old reported they are drinking alcoholic beverages.

Many Teens Get Alcohol From Parents

Even more disturbing than the fact that youth are consuming alcohol illegally is their source -- 52 percent of those same 13-20 year olds reported they get the alcohol that they drink from their parents or their friends' parents.

Moreover, in a similar survey, when asked about discussing the dangers of drinking alcohol, parents' perception of speaking with their children varies significantly from the perception of youth.

Three-quarters of parents (74 percent) report they spoke with their son or daughter about the dangers of drinking alcohol within the past week or month. However, only 24 percent of teens report their parents have never spoken with them about the dangers of drinking alcohol.

Keep Lines of Communication Open

"Prom and graduation season is a time for celebration," says Susan Molinari, former Chairman of The Century Council. "Unfortunately, these happy occasions sometimes involve underage drinking which can result in tragedy. It is no secret that children under 21 years old are drinking.

It is therefore critical that parents keep the lines of communication open when it comes to talking to their kids about the dangers of underage drinking and drunk driving."

The 17th annual recognition of National Prom Graduation Safety Month will take place in May 2016. The foundation recognizes the month by implementing a multifaceted campaign designed to heighten awareness among parents, community leaders and educators to prevent drunk driving and underage drinking.

Communities Need to Get Involved

Prom Graduation Safety Month Proclamations: The foundation encourages governors to declare May National Prom Graduation Safety Month by issuing proclamations in their states and conducting awareness campaigns during this critical time.

Engaging retailers and community leaders to prevent underage purchasing: The foundation aggressively implementing its Point of Sale program, a pop-culture campaign, whose main focus is to cater to the younger generation, brings together retailers, wholesalers and community leaders committed to deterring underage purchasing. Events are scheduled throughout May and June in states across the country.

Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is a national not-for-profit organization funded by America's leading distillers and dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking.

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