Informational Website

Help Prevent Underage Drinking

Help Prevent Underage Drinking

Underage drinking is a problem in the U.S. Even though the legal drinking age in all 50 states is 21 years old, alcohol is still the most commonly abused drug among adolescents. On average, many minors begin drinking when they are around 13 years old.

Underage Drinking Is Only The Beginning

Young people who begin drinking at an early age are at risk for social, emotional and behavioral problems. These can include:

- Drinking and Driving

- Using Illegal Drugs

- Reduced Academic Achievement

- Skipping School

There are also physical problems that can occur as a result of underage drinking. Alcohol can kill newly developing brain cells, which leads to the reduced ability to form new memories.

It is also possible for teens that drink to engage in risky sexual behavior. This can lead to unwanted problems such as contracting an STD or getting pregnant.

Early use of alcohol also makes it more likely for substance abuse problems to develop in the future. One study found that children under the age of 15 who drink were four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who waited until they were 21 to start drinking.

So what can be done about this problem?

Strategies To Reduce Underage Drinking

There are laws in effect that prohibit underage drinking. Minimum drinking age laws make it tougher for minors to purchase and consume alcohol.

Zero tolerance laws are also hard on underage drinking. If a driver under the age of 21 is pulled over and found to have any alcohol in his/her system, they will be punished and experience the penalties of drunk driving.

But just because there are laws against underage drinking, it does not mean that they will always be followed. This is where parents and schools come in.

It is important for teenagers to learn about the consequences of drinking before they are legally able. Schools can teach about the effects and risks of alcohol and other substances. They can also enforce zero tolerance policies within the school.

Parents should also explain that drinking while underage is illegal, regardless of the circumstances. They should monitor their adolescent's activities to make sure that drinking laws are being obeyed.

Open and honest dialogue about drinking and peer pressure will prepare adolescents to make informed decisions about alcohol use.

AK Alaska LA Louisiana OH Ohio
AL Alabama MA Massachusetts OK Oklahoma
AR Arkansas MD Maryland OR Oregon
AZ Arizona ME Maine PA Pennsylvania
CA California MI Michigan RI Rhode Island
CO Colorado MN Minnesota SC South Carolina
CT Connecticut MO Missouri SD South Dakota
DE Delaware MS Mississippi TN Tennessee
FL Florida MT Montana TX Texas
GA Georgia NC North Carolina UT Utah
HI Hawaii ND North Dakota VT Vermont
IA Iowa NE Nebraska VA Virginia
ID Idaho NH New Hampshire WA Washington State
IL Illinois NJ New Jersey WI Wisconsin
IN Indiana NM New Mexico WV West Virginia
KS Kansas NV Nevada WY Wyoming
KY Kentucky NY New York DC Washington DC