Middletown Prevention Coalition

Underage Drinking

Know the Facts About Underage Drinking:

  • Most teenagers don’t use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.
  • Teens who start drinking before age 15 years are 5 times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after the legal age of 21.1
  • When kids use alcohol, it can cause changes in the brain.2
  • The average age teen boys first try alcohol is age 11, for teen girls it’s 13.3
  • Adolescents tend to consume alcohol based on opportunity (e.g. parties), and heavy drinking is the norm rather than exception

Underage Drinking Health Risks and Consequences:

  • Damage to the brain
  • Bad decisions, impaired judgment
  • Increased likelihood of violent behavior
  • Increased likelihood of accidents
  • Possibility of depression and suicide
  • Addiction
  • Injury or death from car crashes,
  • Alcohol poisoning, or overdose
  • Illegal to have alcohol if you are under age 21.

Make Family Rules and Keep Them!

  • Make clear rules such as when your child is expected home, what chores they have to do, etc.
  • Write the rules down. Put them in a place where they can be seen.
  • Consider rewards for following the rules, such as a family activity or event.
  • Let them know what will happen if a rule is broken, such as no cell phone or computer use for one week.
  • Stick to the rules.
  • Go over the rules as your child gets older, and adapt them as they become more responsible.
  • Watch your children’s activities. When you know what your kids are doing, they are less likely to try substances.