Howard Ankin

Graduation weekend poses injury risks from alcohol, drugs, and car crashes for teens. Parents and teens should be alerted to safety tips that prevent serious accidents and injuries.

Staying Safe for Senior Graduation

High school graduation is packed with social activities like senior prom, parties, and road trips that create special memories for teens. Unfortunately, it’s also packed with reckless behaviors like underage drinking, drug use, promiscuity, and impaired driving. During graduation weekend, teens face increased risks for injuries that result from car crashes, alcohol-induced blackouts, drug overdoses, rape, and random violence.

To prevent graduation weekend accidents and injuries, parents should discuss injury risks with their teens and set rules for safety.

Underage Drinking

Although there are laws to prevent underage drinking, many teens indulge in alcohol consumption and binge drinking during graduation weekend parties. Putting an intoxicated teen driver behind the wheel of a car is like putting a loaded missile on the streets. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and nearly a quarter of deaths are caused by underage drinking. Each year in the U.S., more than 4,000 teenagers die from alcohol-related car crashes. To prevent accidents, parents should arrange for alternative modes of transportation such as ride-sharing or limo services to and from social events.

Drug Use

Drugs are easily accessible by teenagers today through friends, drug dealers, and street drugs. Graduation weekend activities present a perfect opportunity for dangerous drug overdoses and deaths for many teens who want to experiment with drugs. Certain drugs like heroin, crack cocaine, fentanyl, and prescription opioids can cause serious injury or death with the first use. Parents must warn teens about dangerous drugs that may be present during graduation weekend and alert them to the high risks of overdose death.

Unprotected Sex

Raging hormones during teenage years put teenagers at increased risks for promiscuity and unprotected sex. When combined with alcohol and drugs, many teens minimize the serious risks of unprotected sex. Graduation, prom, and social activities can put teens at risk for sexual promiscuity, rape, and violent sexual assaults. According to national health studies, the average teenage girl loses her virginity by the age of 15. Studies show that 52 percent of teenage girls do not use protection when having sex. One in three teens say they fear to get a sexually transmitted disease like HIV, yet 24 percent still engage in unprotected sex.

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