Speak out against teen alcohol, drug useParents matter the most when it comes to the prevention of teen alcohol use. Nationally, students state their number one reason for not drinking alcohol or using other drugs is because their parents would not approve.
By: Laura Love, Hudson High School Principal, Hudson Star-Observer
Parents matter the most when it comes to the prevention of teen alcohol use. Nationally, students state their number one reason for not drinking alcohol or using other drugs is because their parents would not approve. When Hudson students were asked about their relationship with their parents on a 2010 SEARCH Institute student developmental asset survey, 70 percent responded positively; believing they received high levels of love and support from parents. It is for this reason the high school is asking all parents to speak out against teen alcohol and drug use. We need parents to stay informed and involved in their teens’ lives.
Already this school year, Hudson High School has had eight incidences of students caught under the influence in school or at school events. Students know that drinking and driving is not smart, but some don’t seem to comprehend the problems that can arise from drinking if they aren’t driving. Recent research on adolescent brain development provides a great deal of information on the serious consequences alcohol and other drugs have on brain function and development. Research has shown that the brain isn’t fully developed until after age 18 and sometimes not until age 25. Significant brain “hard wiring,” for lack of a better word, is going on during adolescence; critical functions for adult success. Using alcohol or other drugs can impair or damage teen brain development. Without question, people understand why it wouldn’t be good for a toddler to drink alcohol. It is time to consider the adolescent brain as equally sensitive to that of a young child when it comes to alcohol and other drug use.
Did you know?
--The earlier a person starts using alcohol and other drugs the more likely he or she is to become addicted;
--Alcohol can shut down parts of the brain that control breathing and depending on the circumstances, only a couple of drinks could be lethal;
--Alcohol use during adolescence can permanently impair high order brain functions like critical thinking, problem solving and decision making; and
--Alcohol can impair memory and learning.
For athletes the consequences for using alcohol and other drugs go well beyond losing a place on the team.
--Alcohol use reduces performance potential by up to 11 percent within 4 days of use;
--Consuming five or more alcoholic beverages in one night affects brain and body activities for up to three days;
--Two consecutive nights of drinking affect brain and body systems for up to a week;
--Alcohol causes dehydration and slows the body’s ability to heal; and
--Alcohol constricts aerobic metabolism and endurance.
Significant brain development during adolescence is also why teens engage in behaviors that are not always in their best interest. It is important for parents to stay connected to what their teen is involved in, where they are going and with whom. Hudson is fortunate to have a group of parents and community members working with the school to provide alcohol and drug free events. Hudson SAFE (Student Alcohol Free Events) has expanded its mission from successfully hosting the All Night Senior Party at graduation to exploring new events and providing parents with a method for communicating with each other to help keep teens safe year round. Hudson SAFE has launched a website where parents can log on and pledge to only host adult supervised alcohol and drug free parties in their homes. It can be difficult to connect as parents of teens -- Hudson SAFE wants to make it easy. Go to www.hudsonsafe.org to learn more about the impact of alcohol and drug use on teens, suggestions for hosting teen parties, meet other parents, and get involved with Hudson SAFE events.