Parents often think that what they say doesn’t matter when it comes to their child’s alcohol or drug use, but research strongly shows that parents have influence in these choices.
An in-depth analysis of Outside the Classroom’s AlcoholEdu for College National Survey Database showed that students whose parents shared messages encouraging the avoidance of alcohol and the adoption of healthy alternatives were less likely to use alcohol and experience negative consequences from alcohol (2010).
Parents can take an active role in preventing high-risk drinking and its negative consequences.
- Spend time talking with your student. Get and share the facts about high-risk drinking and drug use. Be sure to listen to the student and remember that lecturing doesn’t work.
- Make your expectations extremely clear by providing clear no-use messages regarding underage drinking and drug use and set the expectation of making low-risk alcohol choices for students of legal drinking age. Communicate the risks and consequences associated with high-risk drinking and drug use.
- Model good behaviors concerning alcohol, tobacco, prescription medications, and illicit drugs. Refrain from glamorizing use of these substances.
- Encourage community service and other healthy activities as a way to spend time and money.
- Stay involved and stay in touch with your student. Inquire about classes, friends and extracurricular activities to show your interest.
- Remember, you know your student best – be alert to identifying crisis early by watching for drops in grades or deterioration of family relationships.
Consequences of High-Risk Drinking
- 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes (Hingson et al., 2009).
- 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol (Hingson et al., 2009).
- 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking (Hingson et al., 2009).
- 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape (Hingson et al., 2009).
- 400,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 had unprotected sex and more than 100,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report having been too intoxicated to know if they consented to having sex (Hingson et al., 2002).
- About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall (Engs et al., 1996; Presley et al., 1996a, 1996b; Wechsler et al., 2002).
- More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem (Hingson et al., 2002), and between 1.2 and 1.5 percent of students indicate that they tried to commit suicide within the past year due to drinking or drug use (Presley et al., 1998).
- 3,360,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 drive under the influence of alcohol (Hingson et al., 2009).
- About 11 percent of college student drinkers report that they have damaged property while under the influence of alcohol (Wechsler et al., 2002).
- More than 25 percent of administrators from schools with relatively low drinking levels and over 50 percent from schools with high drinking levels say their campuses have a “moderate” or “major” problem with alcohol-related property damage (Wechsler et al., 1995).
- About 5 percent of 4-year college students are involved with the police or campus security as a result of their drinking (Wechsler et al., 2002), and 110,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are arrested for an alcohol-related violation such as public drunkenness or driving under the influence (Hingson et al., 2002).
- 31 percent of college students met criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol abuse and 6 percent for a diagnosis of alcohol dependence in the past 12 months, according to questionnaire-based self-reports about their drinking (Knight et al., 2002).
Consequences of Illicit Drug Use
- Unintentional drug overdoses were the leading cause of injury deaths in 2012 and caused more deaths than motor vehicle crashes (CDC, 2014).
- Chronic marijuana use during teens years has shown to cause an 8 point drop in IQ (Meier et al., 2012).
- Illicit drug use has been attributed to disruptions in college enrollment and failure to graduate (Arria et al., 2013).
- One large study found that one in four marijuana using college students met the criteria for marijuana dependence (Caldeira et al., 2008).
- One in ten people between the ages of 18 and 24 have driven under the influence of illicit drugs. (SAMHSA, 2014).
- College students who misuse prescription stimulants are more likely to have a lower grade point average, skip class more frequently, and spend less time studying. They are also more likely to be heavy drinkers and use other illicit drugs (Arria & DuPont, 2010).
Know the Laws
Ohio Colleges support all federal, state and local laws regarding alcohol, misuse of prescription drugs, and use of marijuana and other illicit drugs.
- It is illegal for people under age 21 to drink or possess any alcoholic beverage.
- It is illegal for any person to possess an open container of alcohol in a public place or in a motor vehicle.
- It is illegal for any person to possess, create, sell or distribute a fake ID. This is a 4th degree felony.
- It is illegal to buy, share the cost or provide alcohol to persons under age 21.
- It is illegal for people under 21 with a blood alcohol content of .02 or higher to operate a motor vehicle.
- It is illegal to knowingly allow a person under 21, other than your own child, to remain in your home or on your property while consuming or possessing alcohol.
- It is illegal as a parent, to give alcohol to your teen’s friends under the age of 21 under any circumstance, even in your own home, even with their parent’s permission.
Additional Parent Resources
- Higher Education Center for Alcohol & Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery: Family Resources
- College Drinking: What Parents Need to Know About College Drinking
- NIAAA Fact Sheet: Fall Semester-A Time for Parents to Revisit Discussions about College Drinking
- NIAAA: Make a Difference- Talk to Your Child About Alcohol
- Partnership for Drug Free Kids: Parent Toolkit