The back to school season ushers in new challenges for college-bound students. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers some advice to parents with college-bound young adults about discussing alcohol use and avoiding underage drinking. Research suggests that teens who talked with their parents about alcohol avoidance strategies before they began their first year of college were more likely to avoid alcohol and limit its use. The negative consequences of alcohol use are in four different areas: academic, health, safety, and legal. Academically, classes are missed, students fall behind, and lower grades can result. In terms of health, over 1500 students die from alcohol-related injuries each year. 19 percent of college students meet the criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence. In the area of safety, almost 700,000 students are assaulted by another student who has been drinking. Legally, some 110,000 students are arrested for an alcohol-related violation.
SAMHSA’s Talk: They Hear You campaign encourages parents to follow five conversation goals when talking to their kids about alcohol use. The campaign flier can be printed and used as a guide for an open conversation about alcohol use, its consequences, and parental expectations about its use. The flier can be accessed by clicking here.