MADD and Underage Drinking

Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Texas hopes Houston parents will take a few moments this weekend to talk to their teens about underage drinking. Laurie Johnson explains.

Saturday is MADD's second annual "PowerTalk 21" day, where parents are encouraged to sit down with their kids to have a candid conversation about underage drinking. The organization's Edie Surtees says most parents think their teens don't drink and aren't interested in alcohol. She says think again.

"We actually conducted a survey in Texas very recently. 85-percent of Texas parents think their children aren't interested in drinking. So we've got some national data that shows a little differently. One in seven students in the 10th grade in the last month got drunk and one in four students in the 12th grade got drunk."

Surtees say she understands how a conversation about drinking might be awkward for some parents. But she says it's probably the most effective way to prevent underage drinking.

"The good news is that all of our research shows that parents actually do have an effective, leading influence. Three of four kids said in a survey that their parents are the leading influence."

She says it's particularly crucial right now with prom, graduation parties and the summer just around the corner to have a conversation about alcohol with teens.

Laurie Johnson, KUHF News.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...