Underage drinking is losing popularity among teens. Teen alcohol use dropped in the United States again in 2016 according to research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, reported rates of underage alcohol consumption, binge drinking and heavy alcohol use all declined between 2006 and 2015.
Unfortunately, we still have a lot of work to do. According to the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, in the past 30 days approximately 33 percent of all high school students drank alcohol. Additionally, 70.5% of Missouri high school students reported drinking on one or more days during their life. According to the CDC, underage drinking can lead to school, social, legal and physical problems.
Safe and Sober interviewed Missouri teens to find out if they drank in high school. Some said that they did not touch alcohol in high school. A few said they drank occasionally, and a couple said they did drink on a regular basis.
When you sit down to talk to your teen about the dangers of underage drinking, share this information with them. Approximately 67% of teens did not drink in the past 30 days, which means that the majority of teens do not drink. Peer pressure remains one of the most common reasons that teens experiment with alcohol. Use peer pressure in a positive manner by encouraging your teen to recognize that most of their peers do not drink.
Remind your teen to think critically about movies, music and social media. Sometimes it is easy for a teen to watch a TV show that depicts high school partying and drinking as ‘normal,’ when this is not the reality. These are forms of entertainment, not of reality. Your teen has the power to work to help eliminate this misconception by standing up for leading a safe and sober lifestyle.