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

Interventions Directed to Underage Drinkers

Resources

Regulating Alcohol Outlet Density: An action guide

Excessive Alcohol- Prevention Status Report

Guide for Measuring Alcohol Outlet Density

The Community Guide: Preventing Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol and Public Health

Factsheets: Binge Drinking