Stay Safe This Holiday Season
Keep the Holidays Bright by Staying Safe Behind the Wheel
December is observed as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month because it can be the deadliest when it comes to drunk driving. As part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has created resources designed to be used during the holidays to educate your community members about the risks of substance use and prevent tragedies. The holiday campaign runs from December 15, 2021, through January 1, 2022.
The Essential Link to Prevention: Parent/Caregiver and Child Communication
When parents and caregivers communicate with their children about the harmful effects and negative consequences of alcohol and other substances, they can make a real difference. The holidays, especially New Year’s Eve, are a critical time for community-based prevention practitioners to encourage and enable parents and caregivers to talk with their children about the dangers of alcohol and other substance use. However, adults may need some help to know how to discuss these sensitive topics with their children.
Here are some facts adult need to know:
- Start talking to children about the risks of alcohol use while they are young. According to the most recent NSDUH, in 2020, 240,000 12- to 13-year-olds began using alcohol.
- Research in the Report to Congress on the Prevention and Reduction of Underage Drinking shows that more than 40 percent of people who began using alcohol before age 13 met the criteria for alcohol dependence at some point in their lives.
- Talking about other substances should be part of the discussion. NSDUH data shows that in 2020, almost 20 percent of children ages 12 to 17 used marijuana within 2 hours of using alcohol.
ICCPUD agencies have resources to help!
- SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” campaign offers a helpful fact sheet for parents that explains why it’s important to talk to young children about substances.
- Keeping Youth Drug Free is another SAMHSA resource guide for parents and caregivers, offering advice on keeping children substance-free along with tips on good communication. The guide also features facts about misused substances and case studies for additional insight.
- Growing up Drug-Free: A Parent’s Guide to Prevention is a DEA guide providing information that can help parents and caregivers raise children who understand the risks of substance use. The guide includes an overview of substance use among children, youth, and young adults and has suggestions for how to talk to young people about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs—tailored to their age group.