David J. Celuch
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Parental involvement can play a role in reducing underage DUI

When parents of teenagers begin to experience their child's desire to test the limits of what is allowed, they are often faced with the challenge of protecting their children without preventing them from learning some valuable lessons on their own. While parents in Oregon cannot control everything their children do, they can positively influence their choices by working hard to provide them with education about how individual choices have inevitable consequences. 

One curiousity, in particular, that seems to interest teenagers is alcohol and drugs. Parents can play a significant role in reducing their child's involvement in potentially dangerous and harmful activities by empowering them to seek other, more productive choices. Education begins at an early age when parents demonstrate through their own example, how to behave responsibly when drugs or alcohol are present. 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, parents should set clear expectations for their children to follow and these rules should be readily reinforced so that children know to expect consequences if they breach their parents' trust. Parents should talk to their children about how dangerous it can be for them to share a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking, even if that person claims he or she is still sober. Children should understand to never get into a vehicle with someone who is under the influence and that they have other options including ridesharing, calling their parents or spending the night where they are if possible. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also suggest the implementation of school instructional programs designed to make teens aware of the dangers of underage drinking, as well as the hazards of sharing a vehicle with their friends when they are drunk. School instructional programs can provide demonstrations, statistics and other persuasive material that can effectively demonstrate the dangerous impact that drinking and driving can have on everyone.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

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