For Immediate Release

For more information, contact:

Guy Cousins, Director
Office of Substance Abuse, 287-2595

Are Maine Parents Being Fooled?

Maine Office of Substance Abuse Launches Campaign to Encourage Parental Monitoring

AUGUSTA ME, March 31, 2009-- April Fools Day is known as a day for fun, practical jokes. Underage drinking is not a joke and certainly not a laughing matter, but the Maine Office of Substance Office (OSA), a division of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, will use the occasion to remind Maine parents of teenagers to not be fooled.

In a statewide survey of Maine parents, only 4% stated that their 7-12 th grade child might have had alcohol in the past 30 days. Yet, in the recently released Maine Youth Drug and Alcohol Use Survey, (MYDAUS) 28% of Maine students (grades 7-12) admitted that they have had alcohol in the past 30 days. While the rate of underage alcohol use in Maine has declined overall, the problem still exists and many parents do not know about their child's use.

"Even the best parent can sometimes miss what might be happening," stated Guy Cousins, Director of the Office of Substance Abuse. "Given the gap between what students report and what parents believe, it's important for parents to ask themselves, 'Could my child be drinking alcohol?'"

The OSA campaign offers simple tips to keep teens from using alcohol - tips that have been time-proven to help reduce underage use through increased parental monitoring.

  • Limit access to alcohol: if you have alcohol in your home, keep track of it (what and how much you have) and keep it inaccessible to teens.
  • Network: get to know your teen's friends -- and their parents.
  • Reinforce the rules and consequences of underage drinking before your teen goes out. Explain the rules are a protective measure, not simply a restriction of freedom. Enforce your rules consistently.
  • Check in often. Before your teen goes to a party or out with friends, ask if adults will be present and if alcohol will be present.
  • Wait up or get up at curfew time to greet your teen and talk about their night after they've been out.

MYDAUS results reinforce the reason for parents to monitor teens - Maine teens who don't think they'll be caught by their parents are nearly 5 times as likely to use alcohol as those who think they will get caught.

For more detailed tips and information about how to prevent underage drinking, visit the website or contact OSA toll free in Augusta at 1-800-499-0027.