AUGUSTA – A recently completed statewide survey by the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHS) reveals that Maine parents are more aware of teen alcohol use. Parents who believed their teen had a drink in the past 30 days rose from 5 percent in 2009 to 17 percent in 2013, according the SAMHS survey of 1,200 parents statewide. The survey also shows that parents who believe their teens could be underage drinkers are more likely to take actions to protect them from using alcohol, and teens who think they will get caught drinking alcohol are five times more likely to refrain from alcohol use.
SAMHS has released this data to highlight the importance of parental monitoring to keep teens from underage alcohol use. The data can be found at: http://maineparents.net/Media/data_survey.htm
Despite more parental recognition of alcohol use by their teens, the survey shows that some parents continue to believe differently from what teenagers report about their use of alcohol.
Key findings show that:
• 17 percent of parents believe their teen had a drink in the past 30 days, yet 26 percent of teens say they have.
• 5 percent of parents thought their teens had binged on alcohol but 15 percent of teens reported they had.
• 25 percent of parents believed their child has ever had a drink: 54 percent of teens say they have.
• 78 percent of parents believe they would know if their teen used alcohol but only 47 percent of the teens agreed.
“Parents are becoming more aware about the dangers of underage drinking and learning about what it takes to keep their teen’s safe.” said Guy Cousins, SAMHS Director. “We still have work to do to close the gap between what parents think and what teens are saying in the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS).”
The data recently reported in the 2013 MIYHS by the Maine Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services is based on anonymous responses from 63,000 public school students in grade 5 through 12.
“Parents are willing to face the evidence about teen drinking,” said Cousins, “but they may not know what to do to prevent teen alcohol use.”
According to SAMHS, guidelines for parents include:
• Talking to your child about the dangers of underage drinking, even before they become a teen;
• Making your rules and expectations of their behavior and the consequences for breaking them clear;
• Forbidding their use of alcohol in the home and making sure that teens do not have access to it;
• Talking to the parents of your teen’s friends and asking about their rules and
• Staying up or setting an alarm so that you can check in with your child at curfew.
More information for parents can be found at: http://www.maineparents.net
– See more at: http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=Portal+News&id=619696&v=Article-2014#sthash.ydJFm9cy.dpuf