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Resources for Parents with College Bound Students

Students preparing to attend college have already taken several steps toward independence. Deciding where to go to college, what career path to pursue, and how to finance an advanced education are part of learning how to be an adult. But young adults are not adults yet. They still need and value their parents' guidance as they make decisions about their future. One of these decisions will be about alcohol use at college and parents are the best source of advice on the issue.

To help guide the conversation, SAMHSA has two free resources:

The Sound of Your Voice is a short animated video that encourages parents to talk with their young adults about the potential consequences of underage alcohol use.

Talking With Your College-Bound Young Adult About Alcohol is a companion guide emphasizing the continuing influence parents have over alcohol use decisions of their older children. This short guide offers tips on when and how to have the conversation about alcohol.

SAMHSA encourages parents to view and use these resources and share them with fellow parents. High school and college administrators can display the materials during Parent-Teacher Association meetings, college tours, and other events involving college-bound students and parents.

Underage Drinking Prevention Application For Fifth- and Sixth-Grade Classrooms

Alcohol’s Effects on the Brain (AlcoholFX) is a free, science-based app for tablets that teaches students ages 10–12 how alcohol can harm their brains if they drink.  Based on lesson plans from SAMHSA’s Reach Out Now initiative, the app can easily integrate with instruction in fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms.

AlcoholFX helps increase students’ knowledge of alcohol’s negative consequences before they reach the average age of first use.
With AlcoholFX:

  • Students engage in research-based, interactive games that explore brain science while practicing their responses to difficult social situations involving alcohol.
  • Educators use science-based lesson plans, resources, and recorded scenarios to help students and parents learn about the dangers of alcohol on the developing brain.
  • Parents learn how alcohol affects their child's brain and puts their child's education and health at risk.

Why talk about alcohol early?

According to SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” Campaign, around age 9, children begin thinking that alcohol may not be just for adults.  By age 15, many may try alcohol.  Young people who start drinking before age 15 are five times more likely to develop alcohol problems as adults than those who begin drinking at age 21 or older.  Kids who drink alcohol also are more likely to use drugs, get bad grades, hurt themselves or someone else, engage in risky sexual behavior, and experience health problems.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Awareness: August 19-September 5, 2016

The 2016 national drunk driving enforcement campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” starts August 19, 2016. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration organizes this annual crackdown on drunk driving. In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in drinking and driving related car accidents, which comprise more than one third of all traffic fatalities.

The campaign continues through Labor Day weekend (September 5) and focuses on improving awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving and enforcing zero tolerance for drunk driving. Twenty-eight percent of fatal accidents that occurred over labor day weekend in 2014 involved drivers with blood alcohol concentrations of .15 or higher.

Visit the Traffic Safety Marketing Website to download English and Spanish communication materials to support efforts to prevent drinking and driving. The website includes a range of resources such as Website banner ads, fact sheets, sample press releases, flyers, infographics, logos, posters, radio ads, sample social media materials, web videos, and televisions ads.

August 31 is Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day aims to increase awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths.  People can process about one unit of alcohol per hour, and as people consume more than that amount, their blood alcohol concentration may become dangerously high causing alcohol poisoning, which can stop your breathing and prevent your heart from working properly. There are several signs of alcohol overdose including:

  • Disorientation
  • Loss of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Irregular or slow breathing
  • Pale skin
  • Low body temperature
  • Being conscious but unresponsive
  • Unconsciousness

The International Overdose Day Website provides a range of resources and opportunities to get involved including participating in a training, hosting an event, joining a Twitter Chat, or downloading the Overdose Aware app. More information about the prevalence of alcohol abuse particularly among underage youth and adolescents is available here: http://www.samhsa.gov/atod/alcohol.