Please take a minute to read these facts about Underage Drinking. Talk to your children, nieces, nephews or any youth that you mentor about Underage Drinking. They are worth it!
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Talking To Kids About Alcohol
5 Conversation Goals
1. Show you disapprove of underage drinking.
More than 80% of young people ages 10-18 say their parents are the leading influence on their decision to drink or not drink. So they really are listening, and it’s important that you send a clear and strong message.
2. Show you care about your child’s happiness and well-being.
Young people are more likely to listen when they know you’re on their side. Try to reinforce why you don’t want your child to drink—not just because you say so, but because you want your child to be happy and safe. The conversation will go a lot better if you’re working with, and not against, your child.
3. Show you’re a good source of information about alcohol.
You want your child to be making informed decisions about drinking, with reliable information about its dangers. You don’t want your child to be learning about alcohol from friends, the internet, or the media—you want to establish yourself as a trustworthy source of information.
4. Show you’re paying attention and you’ll notice if your child drinks.
You want to show you’re keeping an eye on your child, because young people are more likely to drink if they think no one will notice. There are many subtle ways to do this without prying.
5. Build your child’s skills and strategies for avoiding underage drinking.
Even if your child doesn’t want to drink, peer pressure is a powerful thing. It could be tempting to drink just to avoid looking uncool. To prepare your child to resist peer pressure, you’ll need to build skills and practice them.
Keep it low-key. Don’t worry, you don’t have to get everything across in one talk. Many small talks are better.
RESOURCES: Information and PSAs can be found on the website
The “Talk. They Hear You.” campaign aims to reduce underage drinking among youth ages 9 to 15 by providing parents and caregivers with information and resources they need to start addressing the issue of alcohol with their children early.
“Talk. They Hear You.” Application
Practice talking to your kids about the dangers of alcohol.
Prepare for one of the most important conversations you may ever have with your kids about underage drinking. SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” app is available on desktop computers and on the go from the App StoreSM (link is external), Google Play™ (link is external), the Windows® Store (link is external), and Windows® Phone Store (link is external).
Watch this quick video to see how the app works (Video: 1:01). (link is external)
Under Age Drinking Campaign Fact Sheet
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Underage Drinking Prevention National Media Campaign’s (the Campaign’s) goal is to reduce underage drinking among youth ages 9 to 15 by providing their parents and caregivers with the resources they need to properly address this issue with their children early. The Campaign seeks to:
- Increase parents’ awareness of the prevalence and risks of underage drinking;
- Equip parents with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to prevent underage drinking; and
- Increase actions by parents to prevent underage drinking.
Underage Drinking Is a Serious Problem
- According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in the United States, an estimated 10 million people younger than the age of 21 drank alcohol in the past month.1
- Many young people start drinking before the age of 15.2
- The 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey3 found that during the past 30 days:
- 42 percent of high school students drank some amount of alcohol;
- 24 percent of high school students binge drank;
- 10 percent of high school students drove after drinking alcohol; and
- 28 percent of high school students rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.
- The Monitoring the Future survey4 found that:
- 33 percent of 8th graders and 70 percent of 12th graders in the United States said they tried alcohol at some time in their lives;
13 percent of 8th graders and 27 percent of 10th graders said that they had consumed alcohol in the month before the survey; and
- 65 percent of teens who do drink reported that they get drunk in a typical month.5
The Consequences of Underage Drinking Can Be Devastating
The consequences of underage of underage drinking can include:
- Injury or death from accidents;6
- Unintended, unwanted, and unprotected sexual activity;7,8
- Health problems such as depression and anxiety disorders;9
- Academic problems;10 and
- Drug use.11
Parents Do Not Feel Fully Prepared to Address the Issue of Underage Drinking
Many parents with children between the ages of 9 and 15 know that peer pressure and media influences can often lead to underage drinking. However, they are not fully aware of the immediate dangers of their children’s alcohol consumption. Statistics that point to the common nature of underage drinking can be shocking and unbelievable to some parents. Furthermore, parents often do not feel equipped with the information or resources they need to properly address underage drinking with their children.
The Campaign Seeks to Give Parents Knowledge, Resources, and Confidence
The Campaign will use radio, television, and print public service announcements (PSAs); social media; the Campaign’s website www.underagedrinking.samhsa.gov; partnership networks; and direct outreach to help parents feel more confident when talking to their children about alcohol. Messages will:
- Emphasize the importance of parents talking to their kids about underage drinking before they reach the age range when alcohol use typically begins (before the age of 15);
- Offer advice to parents about preparing children to deal with peer pressure issues that may lead to alcohol abuse;
- Highlight underage drinking statistics that are likely to catch parents’ attention;
- Focus on helping parents address the issue of underage drinking in a manner that emphasizes their children’s ability to make autonomous decisions; and
- Model behaviors and situations when parents can begin the conversation about the dangers of alcohol with their children.
1, 2 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2011). Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings. NSDUH Series H-41, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 11-4658. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
3 Eaton, D.K., Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Shanklin, S., Ross, J., Hawkins, J. et al. (2010, June 4). Youth risk behavior surveillance— United States, 2009. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Surveillance Summaries. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5905a1.htm (accessed May 3, 2012).
4 Johnston, L.D., O’Malley, P.M., Bachman, J. G., and Schulenberg, J. E. (2012). Monitoring the Future: National results on adolescent drug use: Overview of key findings, 2011. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan.
5 The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. (2009). National survey of American attitudes on substance abuse XIV: Teens and parents. New York, NY: The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
6 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking: A Guide to Action for Educators. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, 2007..
7 Fergusson, D.M., and Lynskey, M.T. (1996). Alcohol misuse and adolescent sexual behaviors and risk taking. Pediatrics, 98(1), 91–96.
8 Tapert, S.F., Aarons, G.A., Sedlar, G.R., and Brown, S.A. (2001). Adolescent substance use and sexual risk-taking behavior. Journal of Adolescent Health, 28(3), 181–189.
9, 10 Bonnie, R.J., and O’Connell, M.E. (Ed.). (2004). Reducing underage drinking: A collective responsibility. National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. From http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2003/Reducing-Underage-Drinking-A-Collective-Responsibility.aspx (accessed May 3, 2012).
11 Grunbaum, J.A., Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Ross, J., Hawkins, J., Lowry, R., et al. (2004, May 21). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2003. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Surveillance Summaries. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5302a1.htm (accessed May 3, 2012).
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Underage Drinking Myths vs Facts
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CONTACT Cassandra Toliver, Program Manager 2
Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities
350 Capitol Street, Room 350, Charleston WV 25301
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