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Did you know April is Alcohol Awareness Month? Alcohol continues to be the most used substance by both youth and adults in the US. Child alcohol abuse can wreak havoc on their health, friends, family and much more. There’s a lot you can do as a parent to stop alcohol abuse before it starts and empower your child to say “No” if they ever face that decision. 

Here are 7 important facts about teen alcohol use:

  • Ask Listen Learn reports that “Parents are the #1 influences on their kids’ decisions to drink – or not to drink – alcohol.” This means influences from friends aren’t nearly as strong as your decisions. 

  • Exposure to alcohol is very likely during middle school and high school years. Partners in Prevention cites the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) for this statistic: “85.6 percent of people ages 18 and older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime.”

  • Kentucky Incentives for Prevention found that “1 in 2 (47%) Kentucky 10th grade students and 3 in 5 (60%) 12th grade youth reported alcohol is easy to access.” In many cases, teens get access to alcohol through family members, friends, or find it at home. 

  • Alcohol use as a teen increases the risk of alcohol problems later on in life. Kentucky Alcohol Prevention gives an example: “Adults ages 26 and older who began drinking before age 15 are 5.6 times more likely to report having alcohol use disorder in the past year as those who waited until age 21 or later to begin drinking.”

  • A myth that’s been busted time and time again is that alcohol isn’t as dangerous as other drugs. That is completely false. One of the many dangers is that it causes development issues years later: “Alcohol can also alter brain development, potentially affecting both the brain’s structure and how well it processes information.”

  • According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “In the United States, nearly 30 people died every day from drunk driving crashes in 2019.” Getting behind the wheel after drinking can impair coordination and leads to deadly accidents. 

  • As a glimmer of hope, overall alcohol use among grade-school children is declining over the past 10 years.  

Prevention organizations like Boone County Alliance are making a difference at the local level, which impacts stats like shown in the graph above. Alcohol awareness can and should continue throughout the year. Stay tuned to BCA for more resources. 


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