Alcohol & Drugs

Do not ever get in the car and drive after consuming ANY amount of alcohol.


Risk Factors of Young Drinkers

Some factors that may increase an individual's drug or alcohol use may include:

  • Genetics: teens with parents or siblings that have a drinking problem are four times more likely to develop a problem of their own.
  • Race and ethnicity. Some racial groups, such as American Indians or Native Alaskans, are at a higher risk of developing an alcohol dependence.
  • External pressure. Teens whose parents, siblings, or friends are heavy drinkers are more likely to start drinking earlier and believe that behavior is acceptable.
  • Personality. Young people who believe alcohol makes them more social are more likely to drink heavily in order to fit in.

Here are some common myths and facts about Drugs and Alcohol:

Drugs and alcohol aren't dangerous if I am responsible.

Teenage brains are not fully developed yet and therefore they tend to be more impulsive, which can lead to binge drinking. Using alcohol and drugs before the brain has fully developed increases your risk for future addiction to alcohol and drugs dramatically. Young people who start drinking alcohol before age 15 are 5 times more likely to develop alcohol abuse or dependence than people who first used alcohol at age 21 or older.

Alcohol isn't as harmful as other drugs.

Alcohol increases your risk for many deadly diseases, such as cancer. Drinking too much alcohol can quickly lead to alcohol poisoning, which can kill you.

Drinking is a good way to loosen up at parties.

Drinking can make you act silly, say things you shouldn't say, and do things you wouldn't normally do (like fights, drugs, or sex)

I need to drink alcohol to fit in with other kids.

If you really want to fit in, stay sober. Most young people/teenagers don't drink alcohol. Research shows that more than 70% of youth aged 12-20 haven't had a drink in the past month.

I can sober up quickly with a cold shower or drinking coffee.

On average, it takes 2-3 hours for a single drink to leave the body. Nothing can speed up the process.

Beer and wine are safer than liquor.

Alcohol is alcohol. It can cause you problems no matter how you consume it. One 12 oz beer or 5 oz glass of wine has as much alcohol has a 1.5 ounce shot of liquor.


References and Resources

Addiction Center- https://www.addictioncenter.com/teenage-drug-abuse/underage-drinking (888) 982-3077

Alcoholics Anonymous: www.aa.org

Narcotics Anonymous: www.na.org

Al-Anon/Alateen: www.al-anon.alateen.org

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.smokefree.gov

NIDA for Teens: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/about.php

Mind Over Matter for Teens: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/mom/index.php

SAMHSA: www.samhsa.gov/prevention

The Science of Addiction: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/