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The link between underage drinking, sex and assault

When parents talk to their kids about drinking, their conversations often revolve around the dangers of driving under the influence, binge drinking and the illegality of underage drinking. There are parents who believe that as long as they don't allow kids (theirs or others) to drive home intoxicated, they're being responsible.

Some parents don't have a problem with their kids having a few drinks at a party as long as they don't get behind the wheel afterwards. They figure that all kids do it, and they want to be the cool, accepting parents. Other parents are simply in denial that their teens are drinking, especially if they're young. However, studies show that kids often have their first drink at 13.

There are potential serious consequences to underage drinking, however, besides driving under the influence. These involve unprotected sex and sexual assault.

Teens who report that they've consumed alcohol are more likely to have sex than those who haven't by a ratio of 7 to 1. Too often, this sex is unprotected. Young people who admit to participating in binge drinking triple their chances of developing a sexually-transmitted disease over those who haven't.

Then there's the link between sexual assault and alcohol. Studies have found that in up to 75 percent of college date rape cases, either the perpetrator, the victim or both had been drinking.

When kids are arrested for underage drinking, it's essential for parents to discuss all of the potential dangers that they're leaving themselves open to, whether they've had that discussion before or not.

Among the consequences of underage drinking is having a criminal record that can impact students' chances of getting into the college of their choice, staying in college, getting a scholarship and being able to stay on a sports team. Those consequences can continue beyond college. That's why it's essential to seek experienced legal guidance for your child.

Source: Advocates for Youth, "Alcohol and Sexual Risk Taking: What Parents Need to Know," Jeanne Blake, accessed Nov. 09, 2017