A new report shows that the number of youth engaged in underage drinking is going down. The Live Free! Coalition is rallying around a message that can help continue that trend and encourage parents to get involved early. “Talk. They Hear You.,” is a new national public service announcement campaign that empowers parents to talk to children as young as nine years old about the dangers of drinking.
”In today’s global and technological society, information is easily available to our future adults,” said Pinellas Park Police Chief Dorene Thomas, who also is the chair of Live Free! Coalition. “We ask parents to please remain involved in their children’s lives and help them make sound choices.”
Developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Talk. They Hear You” is in conjunction with SAMHSA’s 2013 National Prevention Week—an annual health observance dedicated to increasing awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues.
According to SAMHSA’s latest report on underage drinking, there has been progress in reducing the extent of underage drinking in recent years, particularly among those aged 17 and younger, but the rates of underage drinking are still unacceptably high: more than a quarter of the nation’s youth.
“Talk. They Hear You.” aims to raise parents’ awareness about these issues and gives them tools to help them start talking about alcohol with their children before their children become teenagers.
“These young people are our future leaders—our future teachers, mayors, doctors, parents, and entertainers,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “As our youth and young adults face challenges, we as a community, need to effectively communicate with them in every way possible about the risks of underage drinking so that they have the necessary tools to make healthy and informed choices.
“Talk. They Hear You.” features a series of TV, radio, and print PSAs in English and Spanish launching (in December). The PSAs show parents “seizing the moment” to talk with their children about alcohol such as while preparing dinner or doing chores together.
By modeling behaviors through these PSAs, parents can see the many “natural” opportunities for initiating the conversation about alcohol with their children.
About LiveFree! Coalition
LiveFree! Coalition raises awareness about the harmful effects of substance abuse among youth, young adults and adults in Pinellas County. By offering trainings, advocacy, town hall meetings, a Speaker’s Bureau, environmental strategies and awareness events, LiveFree! encourages Pinellas County families to live safe, healthy and drug-free. For more information, visit the blog at www.livefreeblog.org or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/livefreeFL.