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Please Step Away From the Bottle


Teens more likely to get drunk, use marijuana, smoke cigarettes if they see parent drunk.

Teens who have seen Mom or Dad drunk are more than twice as likely to get drunk in a typical month compared to teens who haven't seen a parent drunk. They're also three times as likely to use marijuana and smoke cigarettes. These staggering stats are according to a recent survey conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

The CASA survey found that 51 percent of 17-year-olds have seen one or both of their parents drunk and 34 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds have seen one or both of their parents drunk.

Teen drinking behavior is strongly associated with how teens believe their fathers feel about their drinking. Compared to teens who believe their father is against their drinking, teens who believe their father is okay with their drinking are two and a half times likelier to get drunk in a typical month.

The survey found that five percent of 12- to 15-year-old girls and nine percent of 12- to 15-year-old boys say their fathers are okay with their drinking. Thirteen percent of 16- and 17-year-old girls and 20 percent of 16- and 17-year-old boys say their fathers are okay with their drinking.

"Some moms' and dads' behaviors and attitudes make them parent enablers parents who send their 12- to 17-year-olds a message that it's okay to smoke, drink, get drunk, and use illegal drugs like marijuana," said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA's chairman and founder and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. "Teens' behavior is strongly associated with their parents' behavior and expectations, so parents who expect their children to drink and use drugs will have children who drink and use drugs."

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