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Prom and Alcohol: A Deadly Combination

Yes, even for parents, graduation, prom and the activites that surround them are exciting, memorable times. Teenagers, too, look forward to completing one phase of their lives and moving on to another. It is without doubt a time for celebration. But graduation and prom celebrations, like many of the spontaneous, and sometimes reckless, activities of teenagers, need the cautious hand of adults. For too many teens and parents alike, celebration means alcohol. Nothing can ruin happy times as quickly and effectively as the deadly mix of drinking and driving. We need to rid ourselves of the "not-my-kid" mentality, and talk openly with our teens about the dangers of drinking, drinking and driving, and riding with friends or anyone else who has been drinking.

It is illegal in Florida for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase or possess alcoholic beverages. Ultimately, the individual decides whether he or she is going to drink or to get behind the weheel after drinking. Talk to your children about this important issue. It is important to develop and maintain good communication with your teenagers. Get involved in their lives. Set up clear rules and consistently enforce them. Be a positive role model. Prom rolls around once a year, but the temptation to drink is there all the time.

More than five million high school students binge drink at least once a month (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University)

During a typical prom weekend in 2004, 46% of traffic deaths of 15-20 year olds were alcohol related.

In 2003, 2,223 teens age 15-20 died in alcohol-related traffic accidents. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

More than 6,000 teens age 15-20 died in 2002 from underage drinking related causes. (Hingson and Kenkel, 2004)

In 2005, more than 28% of teens aged 12-20 reported drinking in the past month. (2005 SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use & Health)

28% of the 15-20 year old drivers who were killed in auto accidents in 2005 had been drinking. (NHTSA)

Drivers are less likely to use a seat belt if they have been drinking. In 2005, 64% of young drivers involved in fatal crashes who had been drinking were not wearing a seat belt. (NHTSA)

During the last 30 days, nearly 30% of high school students nationwide have ridden one or more times in a car driven by someone who had been drinking alcohol. (2005 CDC Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance)

Prom and Alcohol: A Deadly Combination

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