Teens and alcohol

The consumption of alcoholic drinks are, to many teens, a very important part of their adolescent life. There are many reasons why this kind of thinking prevails, some of the reasons are:

  • Social acceptance
  • Peer pressure
  • Various problems
  • Curiosity and experimentation

Adolescents, people between the ages 12 to 20, are more likely to use alcohol than tobacco or drugs which makes it a much more serious threat to their health and well being. Although teens tend to drink less frequently then adults, they consume more per occasion, about 5 drinks on average. This is called binge drinking.

Both drinking and binge drinking ramp up dramatically during the teen years and into early adulthood. By age 15 approximately 50 percent of boys and girls have had a whole drink of alcohol, by age 21 approximately 90 percent have done so. Even more worrisome is the fact that many youth engage in binge drinking. National surveys indicate an increase in binge drinking days for girls through age 18 and boys through age 20. Among college students, about 80 percent drink alcohol, about 40 percent binge drink, and about 20 percent binge drink three or more times within a 2-week period.

This dangerous pattern of drinking greatly increases the stakes for teens in every aspect of life. These consequences include risky sexual behavior, physical and sexual assaults, potential effects on the developing brain, problems in school, at work, and with the legal system, various types of injury, car crashes, homicide and suicide, and death from alcohol poisoning. Teens also increase their chances of developing alcohol dependence and use of other substances.

So what should responsible adults, specially parents, do about it? Here are a few tips on how to stop or at least minimize the alcohol consumption of teenagers.

Keep track of the alcohol in your home. Make sure teens can’t access it without your knowledge.

Let your teen know that the minimum legal drinking age is 21, and that drinking can cause serious health and safety consequences to teens and legal consequences for a person who provides the alcohol.

Talk to your kids about how to say no to a drink.

Parents can also be active in the community by:

Stand up, and spread the word that you don’t want other people serving alcohol to your teen or condoning teen drinking.

Talk to the parents of your teen’s friends. Let them know that teen drinking poses unacceptable risks and that you do not want — or expect — anyone to allow your teen to drink alcohol.

Talk to adults who host teen parties. Let them know that 86 percent of parents support the legal drinking age and a whopping 96 percent of adults agree that it is not okay to serve alcohol to someone else’s teen — and not okay to turn a blind eye to teens’ alcohol consumption

Talk to your school board, school principals, teachers, and coaches. Let them know that it is unsafe, illegal, and irresponsible to condone teen drinking. Ask them to discourage this activity.

Talk to management at restaurants, town halls, and other venues where teen parties are held. Let them know that parents in your community do not want teens to have access to alcohol.

Let local law enforcement know that you don’t oppose active policing of noisy teen parties. A noisy party may signal alcohol use; you will ask them to check it out.

Tell local alcohol retailers that you don’t mind waiting while they check ID before selling alcohol. Limiting alcohol sales to legal purchasers is an important goal and worth the time it takes.


  1. Amanda Griffith says:

    I would like to advertise my selfpublished book about teen alcohol abuse on your website. It is written well per being in the final round of the Forward Magazine Self Published book awards for 2004. I was also asked to Barnes and Noble and to Allen Public Library to Speak about my book and interviewed by Kenneth Taylor from KTXA. Please consider letting me advertise my book with a great message for teens about not succumbing to peer pressure and avoiding addictions.

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