Did you know? Alcohol continues to be the drug of choice for our teens and young adults.
This is a concern because drinking alcohol before 21 years of age can have many serious negative consequences since the brain is not yet fully developed, which occurs around age 25. Short-term effects of alcohol use are impaired judgment, slowed reaction time, weakened control of body functions and irrational decision making. In addition, long-term effects of alcohol use can include difficulty learning new information and skills, as well as decreased impulse control and executive functioning later in life. SaveBrains.org has more information on alcohol’s effects on the developing adolescent brain.
Sixty-five percent of parents think that a child’s peers are the biggest influence on their decisions related to underage drinking. However, youth consistently say their parents are the number one reason they choose not to drink alcohol (Ask, Listen, Learn). It’s important that parents take steps to be a positive influence in youth’s lives when it comes to alcohol consumption. One way that will make a real difference in helping youth make healthy choices is having conversations about underage drinking and alcohol. Helpful tips, important facts and conversation starters can be found here.
One of the biggest reasons alcohol continues to be used by youth is that it is widely available at home and at friend’s homes, and it is aggressively promoted in our culture. However, changing the ease of access and our perceptions of social norms can help discourage teens from engaging in this behavior. Adults have the power to be the reason youth choose to make healthy decisions and not engage in underage drinking.
Our Parents Who Host, Lost the Most campaign materials contain helpful information for parents on why alcohol should never be provided to minors and the legal consequences of doing so.
If you’re committed to doing your part to prevent underage drinking, please share your commitment by signing our pledge below.