Underage Drinking

It is illegal to purchase or consume alcohol is you are under 21 years of age!

The Risks

Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for teens and alcohol use is more frequent than all other illicit drugs combined. Alcohol affects the mind and body in unpredictable ways, but teens lack the judgment and coping skills to handle alcohol wisely. As a result: 

  • Alcohol-related traffic crashes are a major cause of death among teens. Alcohol use also is linked with youthful deaths by drowning, suicide, and homicide.
  • Teens who use alcohol are more likely to become sexually active at earlier ages, to have sexual intercourse more often, and to have unprotected sex than teens who do not drink.
  • Young people who drink are more likely than others to be victims of violent crime, including rape, aggravated assault, and robbery.
  • Teens who drink are more likely to have problems with school work and school conduct. 
  • An individual who begins drinking as a young teen is four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than someone who waits until adulthood to use alcohol.

Prevention

  • Establish open communication. Make it easy for your teen to talk honestly with you
  • Show you care. Even though young teens may not always show it, they still need to know they are important to their parents. Make it a point to regularly spend one-on-one time with your child-time when you can give him or her your loving, undivided attention.
  • Draw the line. Set clear, realistic expectations for your child's behavior. Establish appropriate consequences for breaking rules and consistently enforce them.
  • Offer acceptance. Make sure your teen knows that you appreciate his or her efforts as well as accomplishments. Avoid hurtful teasing or criticism.
  • Understand that your child is growing up. This doesn't mean a hands-off attitude. But as you guide your child's behavior, also make an effort to respect his or her growing need for independence and privacy.