Governor Marks Anniversary of Talk It Out NC Initiative with Leaders
Talk It Out NC marked its one year anniversary yesterday and leaders of the initiative met in Raleigh to speak with the press about their renewed efforts to curb underage drinking in North Carolina. Governor Pat McCrory was joined by Chairman of the NC Alcohol Beverage Control Commission Jim Gardner and President of the NC PTA Kelly Langston as well as Wilkie Wilson, SSRI Professor of Prevention as each spoke on the importance of the initiative’s work.
Their mission—to start the conversation between parents and their children before that first opportunity to drink—is all about communication. And with 13.9 years old the average age for trying alcohol in the state, Talk It Out NC wants parents to talk early and often with their children. To help empower parents across the state, the initiative is building a broad-coalition in the coming year so parents can properly address the issue with the resources and information adolescents need to understand the social, legal, and health risks associated with underage drinking. Aside from the personal tragedy that can result, McCrory’s team cited the social and legal consequences of underage drinking as costing North Carolina roughly 1.3 billion dollars annually through associated youth violence, traffic incidents, poisonings, and treatment.
SSRI’s Wilkie Wilson, a key member of the Talk It Out NC initiative, spoke yesterday on the importance of sharing information with adolescents about alcohol and the brain. While other speakers noted the severe legal penalties associated with underage drinking, Wilson also highlighted the damage alcohol consumption can have on the still-developing adolescent brain. Calling it the “perfect storm drug,” he noted that alcohol does not have the same sedative effect on adolescents as it does with adults, and, as a result, young people can face incredible risks associated with drinking.
Wilkie Wilson is the author of three books for the general public on substances: Buzzed: The Straight Facts About The Most Used and Abused Drugs From Alcohol to Ecstasy; Pumped: Straight facts for athletes about drugs, supplements and training; and Just Say Know: Talking with kids about drugs and alcohol.
For more information on Talk It Out NC and how to get involved visit http://www.talkitoutnc.org/.