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Addressing Life's Perilous Pleasures
Tinton Falls, N.J.
Taking away a teenager's car keys and replacing them with a beer may prevent death and injury on the road, but it sends a dangerous message to teenagers that it's okay to break the law. It also leaves teenagers vulnerable to serious outcomes that can take place even when they drink at home.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, alcohol use among teens is linked to two-thirds of all sexual assaults and date rapes. Alcohol poisoning, increased violence, blackouts and potential brain damage are also risks.
Research also shows that the earlier young people begin to drink, the more likely they are to become dependent on alcohol and to drive drunk later in life. Underage drinking kills more young people than all other illicit drugs combined.
Being a parent doesn't always mean being a teenager's best friend, but, in the long run, by advocating healthy and safe choices, parents stand a better chance at being their child's lifelong friend.
GLYNN R. BIRCH
Mothers Against Drunk Driving