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Is Alcohol Abuse a Lesser Problem for Kids Who Drink at Home?

Many parents think that if they let their kids drink at home, instead of going to bars or parties where they’re unsupervised and going to have to drive home, they’re going to be safe. That is not the case. In fact, it could foster substance abuse. What are your options? Alcohol rehab should be at the top of the list.

Case in point, a news story this week about a girl named Terry. She was at a party at a friend’s house. The parents were home. They had a few drinks with the kids, but then went to bed. They told the kids not to drink anymore.

Instead, Terry decided she would try to down 15 shots. This serious binge drinking poisoned her. She struggled all night lying on the bathroom floor, with her friends trying to help.

No one woke up the parents – the kids didn’t realize how dangerous the situation was. But as the news story put it, Terry wasn’t just struggling, she was dying. By the time the parents were informed, it was too late to save her life.

This incident happened in Michigan, in a county of less than 200,000 people. That county has a remarkably bad record with drugs and alcohol: Emergency medical technicians responded to about 175 overdose incidents and there 208 alcohol-related car crashes and 37 drug-related car crashes in 2009.

But, really, it doesn’t matter where this particular incident happened – it happens all over the U.S.

What went wrong? First, some parents have the idea that drinking with their kids is cool; it’s a way to ‘relate.’ But it sets the worst example. Will kids look up to their parents because they drink? Not likely.

Second, drinking at home, apparently safe, may keep the kids from having to get into a car and drive, but it doesn’t stop them from drinking too much, overdosing on alcohol, or becoming alcoholics.

If you have kids who drink, get them alcohol help. In a good drug and alcohol rehab program, they’ll come to understand that urge and overcome it. They’ll also learn to deal with it when friends around them are drinking. Then you don’t have to worry about them. Whether they’re home or out. They’ve become responsible.

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