Alcohol and Youth: What’s the Big Deal?

Let’s Talk: Alcohol and Youth: What’s the Big Deal?

By Julia Geigle

While the use of alcohol among youth is declining, there continues to be a widespread use among youth . Because drinking alcohol impairs judgement and can increase feelings of invincibility, individuals under the influence  are more likely to engage in risky behaviors like reckless driving, fighting, and having unprotected sex.

We know that one or even two standard drinks won’t lead to the type of consequences named above. However, while teens tend to drink less often than adults do, when they do drink, they drink larger amounts, compounding health and safety risks. Binge drinking, consuming at least four to five standard drinks per occasion, constitutes about 90% of underage drinking. Additionally, research has shown that the earlier in life a person drinks, the more likely they will suffer the negative consequences, and develop an addiction.

As a parent, this information may feel overwhelming, especially considering that alcohol is often glamorized in the media such TV shows and movies. Remember, you have more influence than you think. In fact, 3 out of 4 teens say their parents are the leading influence on their decisions about drinking.

Check out these resources to help you along the way:

  • Parent Resources  : to help you start – and keep up – the conversation about the dangers of drinking alcohol at a young age
  • Alcohol and Youth: Tips to support Parents (towards end of article)
  • Power of Parents:  facts about teen drinking and how to start the conversation about drinking with your kids


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