Small talks

The Rock County Prevention Network urges adults to have short, causal conservations with children about the dangers of drinking alcohol before age 21. These conversations should start at age 8.

“Research shows that parents, loved ones and other caring adults are the most powerful influence on a child’s choices about underage drinking. All you have to do is talk. There’s no big production necessary. You can have a small talk anytime, anywhere,” said Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm earlier this year.

The “Small Talks campaign,” is to help a child sort out what they hear from friends or see on TV before someone hands them a drink.

According to recent surveys, in Wisconsin:

· Sixty-five percent of teens have tried alcohol.

· Nearly 42,000 high school students report trying alcohol by age 13.

· Two out of three teens don’t see underage drinking as a risk.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services website said there’s a reason the drinking age is 21. When youth drink alcohol, they can damage and even block the development of healthy mental pathways in the brain that shape how kids feel, learn, behave and grow. Damage like that can have lifelong physical, social and emotional consequences.

The Rock County Prevention Network is made up of local substance abuse prevention coalitions in Janesville, Beloit, Evansville, Edgerton and Milton.

For the “Small Talks” campaign, the network is partnering with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

More information, including underage drinking talk facts, tips and more can be found at Share your small talks moments on social media using #SmallTalksWI.

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