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Teens who drink at risk whether parents know or not

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Teens who drink inevitably wind up having problems, whether their parents know about their drinking or not, according to a survey presented Wednesday at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting.

Even when parents know their adolescents are drinking, huge problems persist.

Some parents rationalize that their teens are going to drink anyway, so they might as well do so at home.

That does not solve the problem, say those studying teen drinking,

Researchers from FCD Prevention Works, part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, surveyed more than 50,000 sixth through 12th graders at some 100 schools in 24 countries. The 50-question survey is anonymous, encouraging students to respond more honestly, one of the lead researchers, Desirae Vasquez, tells the News.

“The biggest thing we think about with this prevention is it is a process,” she says. “It takes community collaboration. Every piece we get out is a piece of that prevention puzzle to help parents and schools and students to keep healthy kids healthy. There is no magic bullet to say if parents would only do this no one would get addicted. This is a very important piece.”

This piece, schedule to be presented Wednesday at the American Public Health Association’s 143rd Annual Meeting in Chicago, compared students drinking and drug use in the home, with and without parents’ knowledge.

None of the news is good when adolescents are drinking.

Students who drank or used drugs without their parents’ knowledge were up to five times more likely to report a negative consequence to their behavior than students whose parents knew.

However, students whose parents knew they were drinking or using drugs still experienced horrific results such as needing a drink or drugs first thing in the morning, drinking alone and drinking until they passed out.

“These results contradict the common attitude that it is safest for teens to drink at home under parental supervision,” says the study’s other author Heather Fay, of FCD Prevention Works. “While using alcohol or other drugs at home with a parent’s knowledge may protect students from experiencing certain short-term negative consequences, it places adolescents at greater risk for addiction.”

Students were asked if they had a drink within the past year. If they had, then they were asked about negative consequences, such as getting into fights, trouble at school or home, if they passed out, had a sexual encounter they regretted, drove drunk or were a passenger when the driver was under the influence, Vasquez says.

“Parents need and deserve accurate health-based information about potential negative consequences to their own children,” Vasquez says.

jcutler@nydailynews.com

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Health – NY Daily News

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