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Many Teens Get Alcohol from Guardians

Over 40% of underage drinkers in the United States have free access to alcohol through adults with a considerable number of them getting their drinks from their own parents and/or guardians. This is according to the results of a nationwide survey organized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Out of the estimated 10.8 million underage drinkers in the United States, forty percent can get their alcohol for free from adults. More than six percent of the respondents aged 12 to 20 admit to getting their drink from their own parents or guardians.

According to Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson, MD, there are a lot of cases wherein parents actually give a go-signal to their underage children to get a drink. This translates to encouraging kids to endanger their health. He goes on to state that parental guidance, while it may not offer the ultimate resolution, will play a critical role in solving this issue.

The survey asked respondents aged 12 to 20 about the conditions surrounding their drinking habits. The results of this research confirm a previous study that found a third of middle school students getting their alcohol from either their own or their friend’s parents or guardians.

“This report provides unprecedented insight into the social context of this public health problem and shows that it cuts across many different parts of our community.” says SAMHSA administrator Terry Cline, PhD. The results of the survey show that parents and adults play a big role in a young person’s predisposition for alcohol.

Here are some of the survey’s key findings:

1. More than fifty percent of those aged 12 to 20 have taken part in underage drinking at some point.
2. Over three million young people from 12-20 years old are diagnosed or meet the criteria for alcohol abuse disorder every year.
3. One in five in this age group has tried or engages in binge drinking.
4. The rate of uninhibited alcohol consumption is relatively higher in young people who live with a parent who has the same habit.

With underage drinking taking more than 5,000 lives in the US each year, the findings of the survey serve as a call to action. The study is an eye-opener about how influential parents and other adults can be on their children’s behavior.

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