Jul 032013

The 4th of July weekend is the deadliest time to be on the road. 150 people lost their lives over this weekend in 2010; that’s three lives lost for every star on the flag. And many of the lives lost are young people; during the 2011 holiday, more than half of people aged 18-34 killed in auto rashes were legally drunk.

There are ways to stay safe.

  • If you do drink, have a designated driver. It’s easy to lose track of how much you’ve had at a party.
  • Have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. If your designated driver gets the a stomach flu, maybe you can stay overnight at your friend’s house.
  • Talk to your kids. Make sure they never get in the car with an impaired driver and have a plan to help them if they get in a dangerous situation. Remind them they can lose their driver’s license just by being in a car with an impaired driver.

Don’t be afraid to talk with others and make sure they have a safe ride. You’ll be protecting your community and your pocketbook; the NTSA says drunk driving costs every person in the United States $500 a year.

The NTSA has resources to help you spread the word and keep everyone safe this weekend.


Alcohol kills 4 times more young people than all illegal drugs combined. A study from the Journal of Studies on Alcohol found that underage drinking leads to almost 3,200 deaths and 2.6 million other harmful events, from serious injury to high-risk sex among youth, every year.

Underage drinking parties harm teens, even if you take away the keys. Hosting an underage drinking party is illegal. If you are found hosting a party where you knew teens were drinking illegally or using other drugs:

  • You may be charged with a misdemeanor
  • You could be fined up to $2,000
  • You could spend up to a year in jail

You could also be held liable for any accidents or other problems that happen at the party.

Minors who are caught with alcohol could lose their driver’s license, college scholarships or car. They may be fined up to $600 just for drinking at a party.

Don’t host parties with alcohol and stand up to others who provide alcohol to minors. Don’t let other people make decisions for your children. Call 211 to report an underage drinking party confidentially. Together, we can keep our community safe.

Did you know? One of the reasons we talk so much about talking with young people is that their growing brains are particularly susceptible to dependency and addiction.

People who use alcohol or other drugs before 18 are six times more likely to become addicted than those who don’t start until they’re 21 or older.

Another study shows that 90% of adults who started using alcohol, tobacco or other drugs started using their drug of choice before 18.

But we know we can stop addictions before they start.

  • Talk with kids about tobacco and they’re 75 percent less likely to smoke or chew
  • Talk about alcohol and they’re almost 60 percent less likely to drink and 67 percent less likely to binge drink.
  • Make sure you know where your teens are going and who they’ll be with.
  • Download a family plan and talk through possible issues your teen might face when they’re out with friends. Make sure they know the family rules and have clear consequences for breaking the rules.

Together, we can make a difference and stop dependency and addiction in its tracks.

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