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When should I talk with my college kid about drinking?

Binge drinking among college students in the US is one of the most important health issues that we should address. Today, Join Together posted an article claiming that college freshmen form their drinking habits in the first six weeks of college. According to Aaron White, Program Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s College and Underage drinking prevention research, students drink because of expectations and social pressures. Furthermore, Mr. White said colleges “more or less inherit the problem” because many freshmen students have already had experiences with alcohol before reaching college.

We agree that college can be incredibly stressful for our nation’s youth. It’s even more daunting for freshmen students as they make the transition from high school to college. They face a lot of pressure to fit in in their new environments, and sometimes the pressure leads them to make unhealthy and risky decisions.

However, the article does not propose a solution to the problem. At The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility we believe that a comprehensive approach that allows all the stakeholders to be involved, especially parents.  We’ve previously highlighted how talking to high school seniors about alcohol before they head to college can alter their drinking habits before they get to campus. Parents need to start the conversation with their kids regarding drinking in college. The cost of not doing so can be extremely high.

This year, October 21st marks the start of National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week. We encourage all parents to take the opportunity to continue their conversation with their kids during that period. Six weeks might have passed, but it’s never too late to address this important issue. And if you need help getting started, our Parents: You’re Not Done Yet brochure gives parents the tools they need to talk to their college-bound teens about alcohol.

Parents, you still hold influence and should that having fun in college does not mean dangerous over consumption of alcohol.  Remind them that having fun in college doesn’t need to be defined by illegal, underage drinking.

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