Community partners from across Cortland County are hosting a Community Forum focused on alcohol abuse and underage drinking on Monday, May 2 at 6pm at the Homer Center for the Arts.
The average age a teen in Cortland County starts drinking alcohol is 13.3 years old. We can all agree that this is too young. From research, we know that the earlier a child begins drinking, the more likely they are to develop problem behaviors and become addicted. The current reality is that 11% of 8th graders report having had at least one drink of alcohol in the past 30 days. By 10th grade that number increases to 29% and then jumps again to 40% by 12th grade. Many of those who are drinking are binge drinking. Did you know that every 1 in 6 teens binge drinks, but only 1 in 100 parents believe their teen binge drinks?
Alcohol remains the most used and abused substance in America. The May 2 Community Forum will allow parents and concerned community members to come together and learn about the realities of underage drinking and leave with tips on how to address the issue. The event will include a resource fair, speaker line-up and refreshments.
As a parent or caring adult, it is important for you to know that there are ways you can help prevent or even delay your child from drinking alcohol. When teens transition from 8th to 9th grade is where we see a dramatic increase in the number of teens drinking. There are important intervention points when your child needs to hear from you. Sometimes stressful situations can cause deinking such as graduating from middle school to high school, getting a driver’s license or even moving off to college. These are also great opportunities to talk to your child about the dangers and consequences of alcohol.
Every year, Cortland Area Communities That Care conducts a survey of youth in Cortland County. In 2015, over 1,300 students in grades 7-12 were surveyed, providing community agencies and schools with valuable information to guide our activities. We will share some of this information with you and all attendees will go home with a brochure highlighting the 2015 data in easy to read visuals.