The Drug Class Blog

Dec 19

More on Alcohol

More on Alcohol

I had 40 kids in one of my grade 11/12 “Drug Class” classes last week. We went through some info on alcohol and did an AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorder Inventory Test) with them.

19 kids’ scores indicated relatively low risk (although there is adequate research to indicate that teens would be better to not use alcohol at all)

11 kids’ scored in a “hazardous or harmful use” category

10 of the group were in the “dependence/problematic” use category.

The class from a higher socio/economic area and was a good cross section of the 400 kids in their grades.

The reaction, particularly from the teens who scored high was interesting. Generally it was “denial” …... “the test is wrong!” ….. “I’m not that bad” …. “I only drink on weekends” etc. etc.

The problem is always recognizing the problem and if everyone in your group is doing pretty much the same thing it makes it even harder to see that there is anything wrong.

Parents play a part in this too. I have talked about this before, many parents support their teens alcohol use, thinking that it is somehow better than “drug use”. Many parents don’t really have a clue what is going on because their teens are “sleeping over” somewhere on weekends.

The parents think or hope things are OK but they don’t really know.

I have talked to most of the kids who scored in the higher range and none of them had thought that there was anything the matter, after some education they were more than willing to try and reduce the harm related to their alcohol use.


So what does an adolescent alcohol problem look like??

If we look at the Low risk alcohol guidelines for adults that could give us a bit of a framework. Those guidelines are too high for a teen but the maximum drinks per day could work, 5 for males, 4 for females would be a good start and for a teen that is over 17. Also no more than one drinking day per week and at least one week per month with no alcohol.

For teens under 17 we need to really look at limiting access to alcohol because that is really where problems start and parents are really the only ones that can do that. I hear every week from younger teens about alcohol use that is supported by parents.

If you take a look at the 15 Shots Killed Shelby article or the What are we Thinking article it might help clarify things.

If, as a parent, you get a lot of resistance from your teen to change their drinking patterns then that is a signal that it it is already too big in their lives.

If, as a parent, you are stuck in the thinking that it isn’t a problem then you need to check things out a bit more carefully.

Remember, just because you think something doesn’t make it true.

It is really important for parents to talk to their teens about their alcohol use, not lecture but talk to them, and more importantly listen, give them a chance to talk too.

Prevention and Education work.

I continue to be thankful to our sponsors who keep this site going!!

Have a safe holiday!!

What do you think?

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