The numbers just don't line up when it comes to teens' levels of binge drinking, and what their parents believe about the behavior. The problem, say experts and non-profit groups fighting teen drinking, is that parents need to be equipped to start the conversation about drinking with their teen.
According to MADD, very few parents believe their son or daughter could binge drink - around one parent in 100. However, around 20 percent - or one out of five - teens say they have participated in binge drinking behaviors, as reported by an Ohio ABC News affiliate.
While campaigns to educate teens on the risks of drugs, smoking and drinking and driving are presented often, many families are still not having conversations about teen binge drinking, which is defined as four to five alcoholic drinks consumed in an hour or less. The rates of fatalities associated with teen drinking are high, at around 6,000 deaths per year. More teens die from drinking each year than those who die from the combination of all illegal drugs.
MADD is focusing on parents for helping prevent teen drinking. In April 2011, MADD began its national "Power of Parents" event with a "Power Talk 21" presentation. Each year, the organization focuses on helping parents know how and when to have a conversation with their teen about the risks of binge drinking. Workshops for parents on how to start that talk, as well as a workbook, are being offered at community schools and churches in an effort to prevent more loss of life related to teens and alcohol.