By Pam Blume
Christian Action League
August 12, 2016
In 2014, the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Commission began a series of hard-hitting TV spots on underage drinking through the initiative “Talk It Out NC.” The theme of the ads was “It’s never too early to talk to you kids about the dangers of alcohol.”
In February of this year, a report was presented to the Governor’s Substance Abuse and Underage Drinking Prevention and Treatment Task Force. The report, entitled “Alcohol & the Adolescent Brain: Immediate Impairment, Long-Term Consequences,” presented the issue of the disastrous effects of alcohol on the teenage brain, much more so than on the mature adult brain.
The newest series of ads from Talk It Out NC focus on the findings from this study and still emphasize the necessity of parents to talk to their children about the dangers of underage drinking.
“If the parents aren’t in that conversation, they’re out of the game,” says Luther Snyder, Director, NC Initiative to Reduce Underage Drinking.
ABC Commission chairman Jim Gardner states, “This is a tough, tough problem, when you’re losing somebody every week. Research shows that the Talk It Out campaign is starting to have a positive impact on parents’ perception of underage drinking and the frequency with which they communicate with their children. While parents are starting to realize underage drinking is a bigger problem than they once believed, far too many maintain the ‘not-my-child’ mentality. The reality is that underage drinking can affect anyone’s child. The new phase of the Talk It Out campaign focuses on the real and lethal impacts of alcohol on a child’s developing brain and future potential.”
The emphasis on the make-up of the adolescent brain and how it processes the effects of alcohol is explained in detail on the Talk It Out website. (http://www.talkitoutnc.org/use-your-head/) The site says, “To understand the dangers of underage drinking, you’ve got to get inside your kid’s head.” It lists the ways that the undeveloped human brain is negatively affected by alcohol in areas of judgment, consciousness, memory, coordination, breathing, and impulse control.
The ads do not sugar-coat the problems and present the painfully stark reality of the results of underage drinking.
“A primary concern for most parents is the fear that their child will drink and drive. Research proves that parents should be equally concerned with the fact that their child’s brain is wired differently, and responds in very different ways to alcohol. The adolescent brain is wired for thrill-seeking, risky decision-making, and impulsiveness,” added Gardner.
“Because of the unique way their brains are wired, adolescents do not experience the sedative effects of alcohol and are more inclined to binge drink. Binge drinking slows—and can ultimately stop—the functioning of important components of the brain that control things like breathing. The new phase of the Talk It Out campaign focuses on helping parents understand the real and lethal impacts of alcohol on a child’s developing brain and future potential.”
Dr. Mark Creech of the Christian Action League says, “The Christian Action League supports the Talk It Out Campaign because it is exceedingly dangerous for young people to be drinking. Its emphasis is upon abstinence. This isn’t just the law—no drinking under the age of 21—it’s a preventative that could save a life.”
“However, I want to add to this something important,” he says. “I realize many Christians advocate for drinking in moderation, and that the sin is to drink to drunkenness. They will often quote the Scripture, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18) as a proof text for their position. They don’t even realize this same text disproves the case for drinking in moderation. The text is telling us not to be ‘intemperate’ with alcohol, filled with wine to excess, but instead we are to be ‘intemperate’ in being filled with the Spirit. In other words, either we are wholeheartedly, ‘intemperately’ sold out to God or we let the devil into our lives to the degree we fail to sell out to God.”
“One very critical way for both teens and adults to keep the Evil One out of their lives is abstinence.” Dr. Creech concluded. “Don’t drink! Don’t ever take that first drink.”
The new series of ads can be viewed at: