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Underage Drinking

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Underage Drinking – The Challenge

Alcohol is the drug most often used by students in Grades 7 to 12. The chances are high that each child will be exposed to alcohol in some way during his or her teen years. Parents and guardians are a key influence in the lives of children and youth and have a significant role to play in preventing or delaying alcohol use among children and youth.

Children and youth are at greater risk to the harmful effects of alcohol. Research shows that there are six effective parenting strategies to prevent or delay alcohol use among children and youth. The Strategies for Parents to Prevent Underage Drinking pamphlet and supporting animated video provide an overview of each parenting strategy and include tips to support parents in helping children and youth to make healthy choices regarding alcohol use.

Thank you for helping to keep our children and youth safe!

A Community Response

Locally, Hamilton Public Health Services, Hamilton Police Service, Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board and Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board collaborated to develop parent resources in response to recommendations from the inquest into the 2010 alcohol poisoning death of a local youth, Christopher Skinner.

“It’s important to educate parents about the harms associated with alcohol consumption and their role in influencing their teen’s alcohol use,” HWDSB Director of Education John Malloy said when the resources launched. Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Medical Officer of Health, said education is critical: “Alcohol is particularly harmful to youth as their brains are still developing. Alcohol use can lead to memory loss, problems thinking and understanding, and can be linked to depression in youth.”


Paglia-Boak, A., Adlaf, E. M., & Mann, R. E. (2011). Drug use among Ontario Students, 1977- 2011: OSDUHS highlights (CAMH Research Document Series No. 33).Toronto, ON: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Ryan, S. M., Jorm, A. F., & Lubman, D. I. (2010). Parenting factors associated with reduced adolescent alcohol use: A systematic review of longitudinal studies. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 44(9), 774–783.

Updated on Wednesday, February 07, 2018.
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