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Holidays Can Present Drinking Opportunities for Teens
Date:11/19/2007

Tips to Make Holiday Parties Merry and Safe for Everyone

CHICAGO, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- With all the fun and excitement associated with the holidays it's sometimes easy to forget that the season is among the most dangerous in many ways. It can be a time when widespread availability of alcohol at holiday parties can create problems for families. Teenagers or younger children may view these parties as opportunities to sneak alcohol, spike their soda or juice drinks when nobody is looking, or convince a relative to assist them in getting an alcoholic beverage. Some parents, feeling it is part of the holiday spirit, may be more inclined to let their teenagers have an alcoholic drink to share in a family toast.

According to Rockford, IL-based Rosecrance Health Network, a substance abuse treatment facility specializing in adolescent treatment, the younger a child is when he or she starts to drink, the higher the chances that an alcohol-related problem will develop later in life. "During the holidays some parents want to offer their teenager a treat of sorts," said Dr. Thomas E. Wright, medical director of adolescent services at Rosecrance. "By giving kids the go ahead to have one drink, parents are setting precedence. It may seem harmless enough, but by linking alcohol to special occasions parents are telling their kids that alcohol is a necessary ingredient to a good time."

"The first question I ask any parent who is planning a family gathering at home is this: How important is alcohol to your family function?" states Mary Roufa, Adolescent Family Program Coordinator for Rosecrance. "It's about making a safe environment for your child and the type of example you are setting." Roufa encourages parents to place the greater emphasis on the joy of being together and less on the availability of alcohol.

According to recent research, drinking and driving accidents increase between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Emotional challenges also su
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SOURCE Rosecrance Health Network
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