April is National Alcohol Awareness Month

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While the use of heroin dominates our news, alcohol remains the most commonly used and abused substance among our youth. According to the latest youth survey, about 65 percent of Talbot County high school students have had at least one drink. And, about 12 percent of our high schoolers have driven after drinking.

Parents are a powerful source of positive and reliable information. In fact, research has shown that kids who have conversations with their parents and learn a lot about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50 percent less likely to use these substances than those who don’t have such conversations.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, here are some guidelines that can help parents talk about alcohol and drug use:

Listen before you talk: For kids, knowing that someone is really listening is most important. Ask open-ended questions. Be involved. Be honest and open. Be positive: talking about these issues can build bridges rather than walls. And remember, addiction is a chronic, progressive disease that can be linked to family history and genetics. So, if you there is a family history of problems be matter of fact about it, as one would be with any other chronic disease, such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

The longer children can delay drinking and drug use, the less likely they are to develop problems.Parents can make a difference – that’s why it is so important to help your child connect the dots and make smart decisions about alcohol and drug use.

To learn more about how to prevent alcohol and drug abuse in your child, contact Alexandra Duff, Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator at Talbot County Health Department, at 410-819-5600.

The Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office helps community groups, agencies and individuals in providing programs and activities to prevent alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse, and to build a healthier community. Resources include parenting skills, video and resource loan library, awareness campaigns and educational workshops.

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