Texas Agent Association, PTA Launch Program to Fight Teen Drinking

March 7, 2007

The Texas PTA and the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas (IIAT) announced they have launched a statewide campaign designed to prevent underage drinking.

According to the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Texas leads the nation in alcohol related deaths among young people.

The program features a documentary, “Party 101: Consequences” which premiered in Austin Feb. 28, at the Paramount Theatre.

The documentary is one part of a comprehensive campaign including a workshop series, curriculum guide and local presentations all aimed at helping families and communities throughout Texas prevent underage drinking. In addition to the main documentary, the DVD includes special breakout sessions, one designed for parents and the other designed for educators to explore the damaging effects and severe consequences of teen drinking.

The Party 101: Consequences development team involved teens in the creation, production and taping and allows viewers to learn directly from teens about what really goes on at teen parties and the real consequences of underage drinking. Some of the issues addressed include drinking and driving, missing out on teenage rituals such as prom and graduation, date rape, developmental effects, easy access to alcohol and the fact that many teens get alcohol at homes rather than from external outlets.

The documentary and breakout segments were produced by Christopher Productions, an Emmy-award winning film maker recognized for work on social issues, many of which are focused on challenges teens face. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison introduces the documentary, acknowledging the need to combat the epidemic of teenage drinking in Texas.

IIAT and Texas PTA members are prepared to lead free programs of Party 101: Consequences in communities across the state. hose who prefer to view the documentary at home with their families, can request free DVDs; both the presentations and the free DVDs can be requested via the IIAT Web site at iiat.org and the Texas PTA Web site, www.txpta.org or by calling 1-800-TALK-PTA.

The Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse conducts a Texas School Survey every two years that examines alcohol and drug use among students.

The following are highlights from the 2003 survey:

*In 2002, alcohol was blamed in the deaths of 614 Texans under the age of 21, almost five times the number of youth deaths due to all other illicit drugs combined.

*The average age for first use of beer is 12.4 years in Texas.

*Alcohol is the most widely used substance among Texas students in grades 7-12 with 71 percent of students reporting they had used alcohol at some point in their lives and 35 percent in the last month.

*More than 165,000 Texas teens (more than 9 percent of all students) say they have gone to school drunk.

*25 percent of Texas high school seniors say they have driven a car while drunk. That represents 80,000 underage impaired drivers on Texas roads at least once during the past year.

*Texas led the nation in alcohol-related deaths in 2002 with 1,745. That was 47 percent of the traffic fatalities in the state. The national average was 41 percent. (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration 2003)

*In 2002, there were 65 alcohol-related traffic fatalities 14 and under in Texas. The number of alcohol-related deaths among those 15-20 was 261, which was 44 percent of all traffic deaths among the age group of 15-20. (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration 2003)

*The latest statistics show a minor drop in total deaths in the percentage of alcohol related deaths among youth age 15-20. However, Texas still leads the nation in alcohol related deaths among young people.

*In 1999, four states suffered more than 100 alcohol related motor vehicle deaths among those ages 15-20. In total and percentage, Texas was number one.

*Underage drinking costs the state of Texas over $5.5 billion a year. This number includes, but is not limited to such expenses as uninsured medical costs, property damage, loss of life, fetal alcohol syndrome as well as the cost of treatment for alcohol related medical problems. (Pacific Institute of Research & Evaluation, 2003)

*Underage drinking accounts for $1.4 billion in sales for the alcohol industry.

*The Public Services Research Institute estimates that another 10 percent decrease in alcohol-related crashes would save the state of Texas $220 million in claims payments and loss adjustment expenses.

*Almost 17 percent of all secondary students classified themselves as “binge drinkers,” meaning they had five or more drinks at one sitting when they drank (for girls it is four or more drinks at one sitting).

*The easier it is to obtain a substance, the higher the rate of use by students. About 71 percent of the students believe that alcohol was very or somewhat easy to obtain compared to 66 percent for tobacco.

*The TCADA survey shows that girls (71 percent) are now reporting a slightly higher rate of lifetime alcohol use than boys (70 percent).

*The number of binge drinkers almost doubles between the 7th and the 8th grades. In the 7th grade, 5.1 percent admit to binge drinking, while the number jumps to 9.3 percent in the 8th grade, and 16.3 percent in the 9th grade.

*More Texas 7th and 8th graders believe it is more dangerous to smoke than to drink. 64.5 percent of 7th graders believe it is dangerous to smoke or use smokeless tobacco, while 57.4 percent believe in is dangerous to drink alcohol. Among 8th graders, 54.5 percent believe tobacco is dangerous, while 47.6 percent see the danger in drinking alcohol.

Source: IIAT

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