November 27, 2021

5 Myths About Underage Drinking in Cortland County (and Beyond) Debunked

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Do you know the difference between these myths and facts about underage drinking in Cortland County and beyond? Let’s clear the air.

Myth #1:
Most kids in Cortland County drink alcohol.

Based on the 2019 youth development survey of over 2,000 7th-12th graders in Cortland County, only 21% of teens report using alcohol at least once in the past 30 days. Only 43% report using alcohol in their lifetime. Most kids in our community are not drinking alcohol.

Myth #2:
I can’t do anything to stop my kid from drinking, they’ll do it no matter what.

Kids who have a trusting, supportive relationship with their parents, and are provided with clear family rules about alcohol use, are more likely to wait longer before drinking. Not only that, but parents are in a unique position to physically limit access their child has to alcohol in their own home (which survey data shows is the most common place teens in Cortland County access alcohol).

Myth #3:
It’s better to wait until kids are older to talk about the dangers of alcohol.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, recommends that parents start talking about the dangers and consequences of alcohol use with their children as early as nine years of age. Based on our youth survey, 5.0% of 7th grade students in Cortland County report drinking alcohol at least one time in the past 30 days. Your child may be exposed to alcohol, or pressured to drink, at a younger age than you might expect so communication early and often is essential.

Myth #4:
Allowing kids to drink at home is a “safe” option.

A recent study found that there is no protective benefit of parental supply of alcohol. Kids who were provided alcohol by their parents had higher odds of binge drinking, alcohol related harm, and symptoms of alcohol use disorder than kids with no supply of alcohol. Cortland County also has a social host ordinance that holds adults responsible for allowing minors to consume alcohol on their property (violators could be faced with a $250 fine or up to 15 days in jail).

Myth #5:
European teens drink more responsibly because they are “taught” to drink at a younger age at home compared to kids in the U.S.

Studies show that teens in European countries drink more frequently and get drunk younger than teens in the UnitedStates. The percentage of American youth who report drinking in the past 30 days is lower than youth in all Western European Countries with the exception of Iceland.

1. Pride Surveys. New York State Partnership for Success Student Survey: Cortland County Grades 7-12. 2019.
2. Make a Difference: Talk to your child about alcohol-Parents. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
3. Binge Drinking. The merican Academy of Pediatrics. 2015.
4. Mattick RP, Clare PJ, Aiken A, et al. Association of parental supply of alcohol with adolescent drinking, alcohol-related harms, and alcohol use disorder symptoms: a prospective cohort study. The Lancet Public Health. 2018;3(2). doi:10.1016/s2468-2667(17)30240-2.
5. Friese B, Grube J. Youth Drinking Rates and Problems: A Comparison of European Countries and the United States. Published 2001.

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