Teens and Drugs/Alcohol – Parents Are Still The Best Defense Against Underage Drinking

Did you know…?

  • By the time adolescents reach the 8th grade, nearly 50% of them have had at least one drink.
  • Over 20% of this same group admits having been drunk.
  • Three million 14-17 year olds are regular drinkers with confirmed alcohol problems.
  • 40% of teens who begin using alcohol prior to 13 years of age will become alcoholics at some point in their lives.

While these statistics are alarming, there are some things you can do to prevent or delay teenage drinking.

  • Stop taking the minimum age law of 21 years lightly. Alcohol is a powerful drug. It can have serious effects on the developing bodies and minds of teens.
  • Start paying attention to your values and behaviors related to alcohol at home. Is alcohol available to young or older teens in a casual or humorous manner? Is it considered "normal" for teens to drink in your house?
  • Stop abusing alcohol yourself! If you are, get some help and get into recovery. If you are an alcoholic, the chances of your child becoming one is significant. If both parents are, the number goes way up.
  • Start asking your teens if they drink or use drugs. Don’t preach, but remind them of the seriousness of teen drinking-socially, legally, physically and why it’s illegal.
  • Remember, one can overdose and even die using alcohol. Young people trying to impress each other can drink in this manner. If young people have a fair amount of self-esteem and are involved in meaningful rewarding activities, they are less apt to use or not use at all early in their life.

If you can manage to delay your teen’s use by five years, the chances of them developing serious alcohol problems is decreased by 50%. Home is the best place to start when it comes to delaying, minimizing and stopping underage drinking. Draw the line, parents!