Alcohol is the most widely used substance in America. Nearly half of all Americans over the age of 12 are consumers of alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor for many health and social problems, contributing to 88,000 deaths each year in the United States. Excessive alcohol use includes both binge drinking and underage drinking. Considering the adult brain is not fully developed until the age of 25, preventing underage drinking is extremely critical. In fact alcohol has the following effects on teens that drink:
- Reduction in cognitive function (memory, development of new brain cells, etc.)
- Impaired decision making
- Increased chances of engaging in risky behaviors
- Reduction in the brain’s white matter (responsible for communication between cells).
Additionally, alcohol is classed as a depressant, meaning that it slows down vital functions – resulting in slurred speech, unsteady movement, disturbed perceptions and an inability to react quickly. Read More..
Ways you can advocate to prevent excessive alcohol use:
Interventions for the General Public
- Increasing alcohol taxes
- Regulation of alcohol outlet density
- Dram shop liability also known as commercial host liability, refers to laws that hold alcohol retail establishments liable for injuries or harms caused by illegal service to intoxicated or underage customers.
- Maintaining limits on days of sale
- Maintaining limits on hours of sale
- Electronic screening and brief interventions (SBIRT)
Interventions Directed to Underage Drinkers
- Enhanced enforcement of laws prohibiting sales
- Social Host Ordinances