Ready to Talk to Your Teen About Alcohol?

Handbook on underage drinking might help get you started

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FRIDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- A free handbook to help parents learn how to talk with their teens about alcohol is being offered by the American College of Emergency Physicians and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

"Parents are the first line of defense against underage drinking, but it can be daunting to know exactly what to say. This booklet helps guide parents through these conversations with their kids," said Dr. Sandra Schneider, American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) president, in an ACEP news release.

The handbook is called Power of Parents, It's Your Influence.

"We are teaming up with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to offer [the handbook] to parents as we lead up to PowerTalk 21 Day on April 21, the day for parents to start talking with their children about alcohol," said Schneider.

A recent U.S. government report cited an average of 546 emergency department visits a day involving underage drinkers in 2009. And according to MADD, one in three grade 8 students in the United States drinks alcohol and one in five teens binge drinks.

The ACEP said that young people who drink alcohol before age 21 are more likely to have problems in school, be the victim of an assault or involved in an alcohol-related car accident, drown or fall, and abuse alcohol later in life.

"I know from being a mother myself how hard it is to talk to teenagers," Schneider said. "But it's much harder to face a child who has been seriously injured by alcohol, or who has injured someone else. MADD's parent handbook will help parents start what could be a life-saving conversation with their child."

More information

To request a free copy of the parent handbook, go to the ACEP website.

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