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Underage Drinking Prevention

Underage drinking can be defined as a person under the legal age of 21 consuming alcohol.  Alcohol is not only the number one drug of choice among youth, but also the leading cause of teenage deaths.  Each year approximately 6,000 youth die from an underage drinking related incident, which is why it is important to encourage young people that it is not okay or all right for them to drink alcohol.

Research indicates that a person's brain continues to develop well into his or her early to mid-twenties. Because critical judgment and decision-making skills are still not fully developed in teens, young people that drink place themselves in high-risk situations which can lead to teen pregnancy, car accidents, alcohol poisoning, violence and other serious health issues.

In a recent news release discussing Alcohol Prevention month, OASAS Commissioner Karen Carpenter Palumbo states, “We all hear information about underage drinking and how some students seek to “enhance” their celebrating with alcohol or other drugs. There are numerous reasons why teens experiment with alcohol. Alcohol and the promotion of this drug is prevalent in our society. Most young people are exposed to hundreds of alcohol advertisements, images and media messages by the time they are teenagers. Alcohol use in the media is frequently portrayed as fun, sexy and the "grown-up" thing to do. Often permissive parental attitudes surrounding underage drinking, community availability and norms favorable towards underage use all contribute to teenage experimentation”. 

Listed are some facts related to underage drinking:

·         Alcohol use by youth is associated with the three most common causes of teenage deaths: accidental deaths, homicides and suicides.

·         Higher levels of alcohol use are linked with unplanned or unprotected sexual activity among youth, increasing the risk for teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV.

·         More teens drink alcohol than smoke or use drugs.

·         Most youth have their first drink by the time they are 13 years old.

·         Youth who drink alcohol before the age of 15 are more likely to become alcohol dependent and abusers of alcohol then those who begin drinking at 21.

·         Youth with behavior problems, a strong need for new experiences or a family history with alcohol problems are more likely to use alcohol.

·         Alcohol use is connected with poor grades, absenteeism and higher school drop-out rates.

We all serve as role models for our youth. It is important to educate them on the dangers of underage drinking.  What can we, as a community, do to prevent underage drinking?  Here are a few suggestions of places to begin:

  • Consider that alcohol does not have to be served at every social occasion that your family hosts.
  • Think about how much alcohol may be in your own home and limit this.
  • Youth need to hear the message that underage drinking is not okay. This message should come from home, school, places of worship, on the sports field, in youth and afterschool activities, and in other places that young people gather.
  • Talk with your children about the topic of underage drinking, share your concerns; look up information on the web to increase your awareness and

knowledge of this topic. Remember that it is better to begin these conversations early when possible. Youth benefit greatly by hearing a prevention message early. They should know where you stand as parents long before they are starting to think about drinking.

  • Know where your children are and who their friends are. A majority of current alcohol users aged 12 to 20 drank at someone else’s home the last time they used alcohol, and another 30% drank in their own home.




7714 Number Three Rd
Lowville, NY 13367
Tel: 315-376-2321
Fax: 315-376-2347

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