Middletown Prevention Coalition
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
- 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.