Alcohol and Other Drugs

Alcohol

It's no secret that underage drinking is a problem among teens. Even though the legal drinking age in the United States is 21, almost 80 percent of high school students have tried alcohol. You may be tempted to try alcohol because you're curious about it and would like to feel older or fit in. But it's important to know that there are serious consequences to underage drinking. You should make the decision whether to drink alcohol or not after you are 21.

Why shouldn't I drink?

Teens who drink alcohol are more likely to experience:

  • Poor or failing grades in school and higher absences from school
  • Legal problems like getting arrested for drinking if you are not 21 years old.
  • Injuring yourself or drowning
  • Being involved in a car crash, homicide or suicide
  • Unwanted, unplanned and unprotected sexual activity
  • Disruption of normal growth and sexual development
  • Changes in brain development that may have life-long effects
  • Physical and sexual assault
  • Abuse of other drugs
  • Death from alcohol poisoning
Think before you drink

About 5,000 people under 21 die every year because of underage drinking—from crashes, homicides and suicides. Did you know that car crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 20? These deaths can be caused by drinking and driving.

If you or your friends have been drinking—say, at a party—it's important that everyone stays safe. Sometimes it's hard to go against the group. But the last thing we want to do is see our friends get hurt, arrested or even killed. So, what can you do?

Here are some ideas:

  • Stay smart and speak up. Remember that the effects of alcohol last for hours. Even if your friends haven't had a drink in a while, it could still be dangerous for them to drive. Ask for your friends' keys.
  • Find another ride. Try to find another sober friend to give you a lift.
  • Call someone to pick you up. Okay, so you might not want to call Mom or Dad to get you from a party. But chances are they'll be happier that you called them rather than put yourself in a dangerous situation.
  • Crash at the host's house. If possible, wait it out until morning and stay put. Just make sure to let someone know where you are and that you are safe.

Want more information on alcohol abuse? Visit these websites:

Drugs

When you get high on drugs, you can lose self-control and do things that you wish you never did. Drugs are chemicals or substances that can affect your brain and body. Drugs may either intensify or dull your senses. They can be addicting, are against the law, and they can kill you.

Want more information on drug abuse? Visit these websites: