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McKinley Park Coalition Targets Springtime Teen Drinking

Published April 11, 2018

McKinley Park Underage Drinking Other Substances Abuse Prevention Coalition logoThe McKinley Park Underage Drinking & Other Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (McK-UDOS) is reaching out to local youth with information on alcohol consumption as part of the coalition's campaign for Alcohol Awareness Month.

Although drinking may often be portrayed as a rite of passage for teens as they end the school year with events like prom, alcohol consumption takes a heavy hit on young brains that won't finish full development until a person reaches their mid-20s, according to research cited by the coalition.

MAHA Social Host poster forwebOne of the posters from the coalition's winter 2018 campaign highlights the consequences of hosting a drinking party for teens.Using brain scans, one study focused on teen binge drinking — having four or more drinks at a sitting — and found nerve damage in the brains of teen binge drinkers, the coalition said. This damage affected boys' attention spans and girls' ability to interpret visual information, both of which are tied to poor performance in math and engineering.

Drinking and driving causes teen deaths that peak during prom season: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about a third of alcohol-related teen fatalities occur during April and June. Despite these and other dangers of alcohol consumption, about one third of teens aged 16 to 19 said it was likely they or their friends would use alcohol on prom night.

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The coalition, which is a program of the Midwest Asian Health Association (MAHA), urges teens to be aware of the consequences of alcohol consumption and encourages celebrating in alcohol-free environments, such as the Pilsen neighborhood's annual Fiesta Del Sol event. The coalition is hosting talks in April at Pickard Elementary School and Columbia Explorers Academy to highlight the dangers of adolescent drinking, especially when tied to rites of passage.

The alcohol awareness campaign follows the coalition's earlier messaging and outreach focused on facts related to drug and alcohol consumption, including making parents aware of the consequences of permitting teen drinking through Illinois' social hosts law.

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