Heavy alcohol use or binge drinking during the teenage years has longterm effects on brain development. Youth who begin drinking before age 15 are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse alcohol later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21. Most parents try to protect their children from these risk factors, but approximately three in 10 middle and high school students in Winona County felt there was slight or no risk in binge drinking once or twice per week (Minnesota student survey, 2016).

The Winona County Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) is partnering with parents, educators, businesses, and law enforcement to share this message during prom and graduation: “Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don’t be a party to teenage drinking.” Through this campaign, parents and caregivers are encouraged to learn more about the health, safety, and legal ramifications of allowing underage drinking to occur.  

Winona County ASAP is asking the community to analyze factors that contribute to underage drinking, including community norms, availability, policy, and enforcement. Adults are encouraged to support one another by signing the parent pledge on the ASAP website, where you can also provide anonymous tips to law enforcement.

Community members can learn more about the campaign, gain facts and tips, and sign the parent pledge on Winona County ASAP’s website at www.winonacountyasap.org. To request free campaign materials or ask questions, call 507-474-ASAP (2727).