According to the CDC, there are many risks to teens who drink and take drugs. Movies and television shows depict parties filled with care-free, beautiful, youthful, smiling faces cavorting and drinking alcohol and taking drugs. So, parents worry their children may be influenced by these messages and get carried away by end of year high school festivities and forget the good sense we tried to instill in them. Most parents can rest assured. According to recent research published in the Journal of Addictive Behaviors, over two thirds of students do not drink alcohol during Prom. Even fewer will take drugs.
Yet, you may still be worried that your graduating senior may be among the one third at risk. Fortunately, there are still some things that you can do!
Talk to them! Remind them of sensible reasons not to drink or take drugs. If they black out they won’t be able to have wonderful memories. If they binge drink and vomit, they will ruin their tux or gown, and will feel sick for most of the next day. Share with them the most recent alarming information from the World Health Organization that no amount of alcohol consumption is safe.
Provide an after party without alcohol. Provide tasty food and fun activities so the guests won’t suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out). Make sure all alcohol has been safely stored away and guests’ movements are always supervised by adults. Your school or district may already provide such an event for a reasonable cost or for free. Ask your school’s administration or PTA. If your student has been invited to a party, find out who is hosting and make sure their values about health and safety are similar to yours. Offer to help them. You might even make a new friend!
Provide a ride. Proms happen at night. According to the Centers for Disease Control, teens are three times as likely to get in an accident at night than adults. They may be driving under the influence, but they could also just be sleep deprived.
Set a curfew. Reassure them that you are excited for them and want them to have a wonderful evening, but expect them to keep in contact regularly and be home at a reasonable time.
Traditionally Proms have been an opportunity to show how our youth have grown up to be promising, sophisticated adults. As a society we feel particular anguish when promising young adults die of alcohol poisoning, overdoses, or traffic accidents before even graduating from high school. Parents can help reduce the risk of tragedy by providing ample opportunities for students to make wise decisions.
Blog post submitted by an anonymous community member. Content is subject to opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of HC DrugFree.