NC: Talk it Out addresses preventing underage drinking

Mark Willingham Uncategorized

NC:  Talk it Out addresses preventing underage drinking

Hickory Record

By Michael Praats

October 7, 2016

HICKORY – Thirty-eight percent of eighth-graders in North Carolina say they have tried alcohol at least once, according to the North Carolina Youth Risk Behavior Survey. By the age of 15, the number of teens admitting to trying alcohol increases to 50 percent.

Because of the startling numbers, North Carolina developed the Talk it Out program, an educational program that encourages parents to talk to their middle school aged children about the dangers of underage drinking.

North Carolina ABC Coalitions Director Kat Haney will speak about the campaign, which is designed to raise awareness and give parents the right tools for talking to kids about the dangers of underage drinking.

The event is scheduled Wednesday at the Highland Recreation Center at 10 a.m. and brunch will be provided.

“We ask that anyone who has contact with middle/high school age students to attend this informational meeting on how we as a community can address the issue of underage drinking,” Kayla Bumgarner, coordinator for Safe Kids Catawba County said.

The program attempts to provide parents with information as well as conversation starters to discuss the issue of underage drinking amongst adolescents.

Talk it Out provides tips for discussing underage drinking with children such as talking often, talking clearly and not worrying about being hypocritical when setting a no-alcohol policy for their children.

Talk it Out’s website says more children believe underage drinking is a problem compared to parents and adults.

“When 94 percent f our NC students say underage drinking is a problem, it’s time we address it,” Bumgarner said. “In our community meeting we will learn proven methods every family can use to educate, to set boundaries and to create the kinds of relationships that keep middle school kids from turning to alcohol in the first place.”

The impact of underage drinking is more prevalent than most people think; in the state alone, one person each week dies from underage drinking, according to the organization’s fact sheet. The amount of teen deaths from alcohol are higher than all other illicit drugs combined.