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Underage Drinking



What You Can Do
  • Talk to your kids. Talk early. Talk often. Over 70% of children say their parents are the biggest influence over their decision to drink or not. When planning conversations with children aged 9-13, “Start Talking Before They Start Drinking” has excellent information and tips. “Make a Difference: Talk to your about about alcohol” focuses on having conversations with teens.
  • Be a good role model. Be aware of the messages you are sending to children. Have you ever reached for a drink, saying “I had a tough day”? Do you tell drinking stories in front of kids? Do you ever ask your kids to get you a beer from the refrigerator? Do you encourage your own friends to drink more? – “Come on, just have one more!” These can send mixed messages: That alcohol is a good way to relieve stress; That alcohol is necessary to have fun; That more drinking = more fun.

Health Risks of Underage Drinking
  • Death - 5,000 people under age 21 die each year from alcohol-related car crashes, homicides, suicides, alcohol poisoning, and other injuries such as falls, burns, and drowning.
  • Serious injuries - More than 190,000 people under age 21 visited an emergency room for alcohol-related injuries in 2008 alone.
  • Impaired judgment - Drinking can cause kids to make poor decisions, which can then result in risky behavior like drinking and driving, sexual activity, or violence.
  • Increased risk for physical and sexual assault - Youth who drink are more likely to carry out or be the victim of a physical or sexual assault.
  • Brain development problems - Research shows that brain development continues well into a person’s twenties. Alcohol can affect this development, and contribute to a range of problems.

How to Recognize the Signs of Underage Drinking
  • Anyone who interacts with young people should pay close attention to the warning signs that may indicate underage drinking. Some of these warning signs include: tragic health, social, and economic problems result from the use of alcohol by youth. Underage drinking is a causal factor in a host of serious problems, including homicide, suicide, traumatic injury, drowning, burns, violent and property crime, high risk sex, fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol poisoning, and need for treatment for alcohol abuse and dependence.


What You Can Do
  • Talk to your kids. Talk early. Talk often. Over 70% of children say their parents are the biggest influence over their decision to drink or not. When planning conversations with children aged 9-13, “Start Talking Before They Start Drinking” has excellent information and tips. “Make a Difference: Talk to your about about alcohol” focuses on having conversations with teens.
  • Be a good role model. Be aware of the messages you are sending to children. Have you ever reached for a drink, saying “I had a tough day”? Do you tell drinking stories in front of kids? Do you ever ask your kids to get you a beer from the refrigerator? Do you encourage your own friends to drink more? – “Come on, just have one more!” These can send mixed messages: That alcohol is a good way to relieve stress; That alcohol is necessary to have fun; That more drinking = more fun.

Health Risks of Underage Drinking
  • Death - 5,000 people under age 21 die each year from alcohol-related car crashes, homicides, suicides, alcohol poisoning, and other injuries such as falls, burns, and drowning.
  • Serious injuries - More than 190,000 people under age 21 visited an emergency room for alcohol-related injuries in 2008 alone.
  • Impaired judgment - Drinking can cause kids to make poor decisions, which can then result in risky behavior like drinking and driving, sexual activity, or violence.
  • Increased risk for physical and sexual assault - Youth who drink are more likely to carry out or be the victim of a physical or sexual assault.
  • Brain development problems - Research shows that brain development continues well into a person’s twenties. Alcohol can affect this development, and contribute to a range of problems.

How to Recognize the Signs of Underage Drinking
  • Anyone who interacts with young people should pay close attention to the warning signs that may indicate underage drinking. Some of these warning signs include: tragic health, social, and economic problems result from the use of alcohol by youth. Underage drinking is a causal factor in a host of serious problems, including homicide, suicide, traumatic injury, drowning, burns, violent and property crime, high risk sex, fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol poisoning, and need for treatment for alcohol abuse and dependence.