Parents: Now is the time to talk to students about alcohol & other drugs

In the wake of new research showing that few colleges are following the recommendations of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the Institute has issued a press release aimed at spreading the word about its resources and guidelines. Notably, the release targets an important audience: the parents and families of college students.

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“Anecdotal evidence suggests that the first 6 weeks of the first semester are critical to academic success,” notes the release. “As the fall semester begins, parents can use this time to help prepare their college-age sons and daughters by talking with them about the consequences of excessive drinking.” For example, parents can “call their sons and daughters frequently, and ask about roommates and living arrangements.” They can also discuss “the penalties for underage drinking, and how alcohol use can lead to date rape, violence, and academic failure.”

Of course, some parents may be hesitant about bringing up these kinds of sensitive topics. The question is, can colleges facilitate these important discussions?

MyStudentBody was created to support an evidence-based, comprehensive approach to prevention, and it includes a parent-based intervention program that was developed and research-tested with grant support from the NIAAA. The program uses online videos featuring real parents and students to help families learn how to talk to students about sensitive topics, such as the risk of sexual assault or the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

There is also a guide for parents that covers the key issues and concepts in the program, which school administrators are free to print and distribute to parents during orientation or any other time during the year. These resources are available at no extra cost to every school that subscribes to MyStudentBody.

If you’re already a MyStudentBody customer, you can check out the parent program by logging in to the MyStudentBody site with your “administrator” password, and clicking on the “Parents” tab.

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