Each year, about 4,700 people die as a result of underage drinking (according to SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), but the majority of the deaths attributable to alcohol use among 15 to 20 year olds are not on our roadways.
As part of Alcohol Awareness Month and in advance of the third annual PowerTalk 21® day, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Nebraska is highlighting a new analysis of data that estimates 68 percent of deaths attributable to underage drinking are not traffic related — which illustrates the importance of preventing underage drinking, even if there’s no driving involved.
Using 2010 data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MADD estimates that 32 percent of all deaths related to underage (age 15-20) alcohol use were traffic fatalities and 68 percent were other fatal incidents, including homicides (30 percent), suicides (14 percent), alcohol poisonings (9 percent) and other causes of death (15 percent).
“During this time of year when teens are getting ready for graduation and prom season, it’s especially important for parents to know that taking away the keys doesn’t take away all of the risks associated with underage drinking,” said Sara Draper, MADD Nebraska Program Specialist, “MADD hopes to inspire Nebraska parents and caregivers to have ongoing conversations with their kids about the dangers of underage drinking.”
MADD and National Presenting Sponsor Nationwide Insurance® encourage families to connect on PowerTalk 21 day — the national day on April 21st for parents to start talking with their kids about alcohol, using the Power of Parents® handbook as their guide.
The Power of Parents handbook provides parents and guardians with the tools and resources to have the sometimes difficult, but potentially lifesaving conversation about alcohol with their kids on PowerTalk 21 day and throughout the year. Developed with Pennsylvania State University’s Dr. Robert Turrisi, the handbook is based on his more than two decades of underage drinking research, which has been shown to significantly reduce underage drinking behaviors, even in households with below average communication. In addition, the Power of Parents program includes free, 30-minute workshops designed to inform parents and other parental figures about the importance of frequent, ongoing communication about alcohol.