MADD Highlights New Data Showing that a Quarter of Teen Drinkers Get Alcohol from a Parent or Family Member

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is highlighting data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) showing that 26 percent of all teen drinkers (ages 12-17) get their alcohol from a parent or family member. This, coupled with research showing that three out of four kids say their parents are the leading influence on their decisions about drinking, illustrates the important role of parents in the fight against underage drinking. MADD and National Presenting Sponsor Nationwide Insurance encourage families to connect on PowerTalk 21 day — the national day on April 21st for parents to start talking with their kids about alcohol.

“Teen alcohol use kills 6,000 people each year, and one of the most important things a parent can do to keep their kids safe is to start an open dialogue about the dangers of underage drinking,” said MADD National President Jan Withers, whose 15-year-old daughter was killed by an underage drunk driver 20 years ago this week. “PowerTalk 21 is the day to start this conversation, but it’s also a day for parents and other adult role models to realize the power they have in preventing youth from drinking alcohol before age 21.”

According to the most recent SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the following is a ranking of the top five ways teen drinkers get their alcohol:

  1. From a parent, guardian or family member who is 21 or older (26 percent)
  2. From someone 21 or older who is not related to the teen (25 percent)
  3. From someone under 21 who is not related to the teen (22 percent)
  4. Took it from home (10 percent)
  5. Took it from someone else’s home (5 percent)

“This data shows that underage drinking prevention is not only a problem for our youth. It’s an adult problem too. More than half of teens who drink are getting their alcohol from adults,” said Bill Windsor, Nationwide Insurance Associate Vice President of Consumer Safety. “That’s why Nationwide is partnering with MADD to highlight the importance of parental involvement in keeping the next generation safe from the dangers of underage drinking.”

The Power of Parents™ handbook provides parents and guardians with the tools and resources to have the sometimes difficult, but potentially lifesaving conversation about alcohol with their kids on PowerTalk 21 day and throughout the year. Developed with Pennsylvania State University’s Dr. Robert Turrisi, the handbook is based on his more than two decades of underage drinking research, which has been shown to significantly reduce underage drinking behaviors, even in households with below average communication.

“As part of The Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation, I’m proud to be joined by Governors’ spouses from around the nation in recognizing MADD’s PowerTalk 21 day as an important opportunity to start intentional and ongoing conversations with our kids about alcohol,” said Sally Ganem, First Lady of Nebraska.

MADD Affiliates across the country are partnering with Governors’ spouses, law enforcement, medical professionals, educators and community leaders to host free parent workshops leading up to PowerTalk 21 day. These 30-minute workshops are designed to inform parents and other parental figures about the importance of frequent, ongoing communication about alcohol, in order to reduce underage drinking and its associated dangers. To find a workshop near you, visit