The message is alarming and disturbing, but parents need to share it with their teenagers. It's a matter of life and death.

The end of the school year can be a time of apprehension for parents of graduating teens, who are on the verge of launching into adulthood. Decisions made in the coming days could determine their future - or lack of it.

The Colorado chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving is encouraging teens to not indulge in alcohol and pot this graduation season. Peer pressure is a leading contributor to poor decisions teens sometimes make, but perhaps some reverse peer pressure could have the opposite effect.

Why is this message so important? Well, when you look at the figures recently shared by MADD, you'll understand.

* Alcohol is a factor in 492 suicides each year, 1,269 homicides, and 1580 deaths from car accidents of drivers under the age of 21.
* Kids who begin drinking by age 15 are 6 times more likely to become substance dependent later in life, and more likely to abuse substances.
*Students who engage in binge drinking are more likely to do poorly in school, be victims of dating violence, and participate in dangerous activities like riding with a drunk driver, smoke cigarettes, vape, and attempt suicide.
* 188,000 individuals annually visit the emergency room due to alcohol-related injuries
*Marijuana accounts for 50% of the 7 million people age 12 and older who are dependent on or abusing a drug.

Pass along the message, have the conversation with your teens and keep them safe this graduation season. Alcohol + pot + teens is a bad and potentially lethal combination.

[POWER OF YOUTH]