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Website helps parents talk about alcohol with college-age kids

Colleges are encouraging parents to talk to their kids about excessive drinking.
Colleges are encouraging parents to talk to their kids about excessive drinking. (Toby Talbot / Associated Press)

With many recent Maryland high school graduates soon headed to the beach for the state's infamous senior week, 14 colleges have launched a website called www.collegeparentsmatter.org that aims to help parents talk to the kids about alcohol.

The public and private schools want parents and college-age kids to "have the conversation," and the website offers tips for effective communication and specific scenarios.

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"We recognize these are hard discussions for parents, but they're too critical to ignore," said Amelia Arria, an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Health in College Park, in a statement. "Parental attitudes and advice regarding drinking are important influences on young people's behavior that continue into the college years."

Arria is also co-director of the Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems, made up of the 14 schools that sponsored the website with funding from the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The collaborative points to data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism that found college drinking is linked to 1,825 deaths nationally each year among students and more than 690,000 assaults, 97,000 sexual abuse cases and 599,000 unintentional injuries.

A collaborative survey of Maryland college students in 2014 also found that those who parents didn't allow them to drink in high school were less likely to drink excessively in college.

More information on the collaborative can be found at www.marylandcollaborative.org and participants include: Allegany College of Maryland, College of Southern Maryland, Frostburg State University, Garrett College, Goucher College, the Johns Hopkins University, Loyola University Maryland, McDaniel College, Notre Dame of Maryland University, St. Mary's College of Maryland, Towson University, the U.S. Naval Academy, the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

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