kIn lieu of this week’s National Prevention Week, we at MDC would like to talk to you a little bit more about underage drinking and how to help prevent alcohol use among youth.

Did you know that in 2011, one third of youth drank at least one full serving of alcohol? Another startling statistic is that one fifth of youth drove in a car with someone who had consumed alcohol prior to getting in the car.

The key in stopping this reckless behavior is communication. If there is an open line of communication between the parents and the teen, they are less likely to engage in underage drinking. The video below harps on three things; be proactive, be persistent and be positive. What is really shocking is that 20 percent of youth had their first alcoholic beverage before the age of 13. Sticking to these three approaches will help to keep the line of communication open and prevent these damaging decisions.

Home should be a safe place to be open and honest with parents. If teens feel they can openly talk to their parents about the pressures they are going through without punishment, it will help to keep lying to a minimum. When parents attack and punish teens for talking about alcohol, it only makes them want to engage in these activities more. Making sure to say things like “I’m glad you were strong and did not drink” or “Thank you for being honest with me about what was going on at that party” will help to keep teens open.

Watch this video from SAMHSA’s state video project to learn more about keeping the lines of communication open. For more information on how to talk to your teen about this topic, visit