Our culture is is full of myths about drinking, and teenage drinking in particular. The law is clear, children are not allowed to drink legally until they are young adults 21 years of age. Yet many adults refer to 'common wisdom' about their own experiences growing up and use this 'wisdom' as a reason to ignore the law, telling the kids in the process that it's okay to do so as well. In fact, much of our cultural common sense on this subject is little more than myth.
MYTH #1: Drugs are the problem, but a little alcohol, responsibly introduced, is okay.
FACT: More children are killed by alcohol annually than all illegal drugs combined.
MYTH #2: Drunk Driving is the major risk of underage drinking.
FACT: While drinking and driving leads to 24% of teen driving fatalities, 50% of 16 year old girls have sex drunk and 39% of high school boys say forced sex is acceptable if the girl is drunk or intoxicated. Many girls agree. Geico, 1994—DHHS, 1999
MYTH #3: I don’t have to worry about drinking and drugs until my kids are in High School.
FACT: 75% of 8th graders say alcohol is “fairly easy to get” (90% of 10th graders say the same thing). NIDA, 1996.
MYTH #4: Responsible teen drinking is okay, it’s drugs that present the real threat to my kids.
FACT: 50% of kids who start drinking before age 15 will face alcohol or drug dependence as adults. Every year they delay until 21 reduces their risk by 14%. NIAA, 1998
MYTH #5: The “European Model” of underage drinking works.
FACT: The “European Model” of introducing teens to alcohol at younger ages produces high levels of binge drinking among European teens and equally high or higher rates of alcoholism than in the U.S. Surgeon General's Call to Action
MYTH # 6: If my kid gets binge drinking out of his system in high school where I can watch him, he'll be okay in college.
FACT: Binge drinking in high school is a major predictor of binge drinking in college. Harvard College Alcohol Study, 2003
MYTH # 7: My kids won't listen to me if I tell them "no."
FACT: "I wish my parents would tell me what they really think about this stuff. I don't want lectures, just really want to talk." - 15 year old girl in Key Concepts Workshop (2008)