Five Underage Drinking Facts to Help Prevent Youth Alcohol Use

Underage drinking is a serious issue that affects millions of teenagers in the United States of America every day. Alcohol consumption poses a significant risk to the health and well-being of those under 21 who participate. It is also illegal for individuals under age 21 to purchase or consume alcohol.

We are going to explore five underage drinking facts that can help parents, educators, other adults, and youth prevent youth alcohol use.

1. Health Risks in the Short and Long Term

Underage drinking can lead to serious health problems that affect youth both short-term and long-term. Alcohol has a more powerful health risk and effect on the youth than it does on adults.

Some short-term, immediate health risks that youth may encounter include:

  • Injuries: Motor vehicle accidents, burns, or drownings
  • Violence: Homicide, suicide, or assault
  • Poisoning: Overuse or consumption can result in alcohol poisoning

In addition to short-term health risks, there are also long-term health risks from underage drinking, including:

  • Cancer: Various types of cancer are related to alcohol usage, such as liver, colon, rectum, throat, or esophagus cancer
  • Chronic Diseases: High blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, stroke, or weakening of the immune system
  • Brain Functionality: Memory loss, brain development, dementia, or poor school/job performance
  • Mental Health: Anxiety, depression, or suicidal ideations

Consuming alcohol before the brain and other body organs have fully developed can have dangerous short and long-term effects.

2. Dangerous Behaviors

Underage drinking can result in youth engaging in dangerous behaviors that could affect their safety, growth, and development.

Some risky or dangerous behaviors that youth may engage in as a result of underage drinking are:

  • Driving Under the Influence: Driving under the influence is dangerous for the driver, other people in the vehicle, and other drivers on the road. It also has legal ramifications.
  • Unprotected Sex: Unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Physical Altercations: Physical altercations could include violence or physical fights, which can then lead to legal trouble or accusations.

Not engaging in underage drinking significantly reduces the risk of putting yourself in dangerous situations where you cannot think or function properly.

3. Poor Academic Performance

Did you know that underage drinking is also linked to poor academic performance? Young people who engage in underage drinking are more likely to miss school, perform poorly on tests (including standardized tests), and obtain lower grades. This can affect your potential for going to college, trade school, the military, or getting hired for a job.

4. Negative Effect on Relationships

The negative effects of underage drinking extend beyond your personal health and school performance. They can also have a negative effect on your social life and relationships.

Underage drinking not only leads to physical altercations as mentioned before, but also a lack of participation in youth activities too.

Relationships with peers and family members can also be negatively affected by using alcohol as it can cause more arguments, disagreements, and anger with others. 

5. Bridge to Other Substances or Binge Drinking

Underage drinking can also become a bridge for youth to begin using other drugs. While under the influence, they may be more willing to try other substances.

In addition to the potential of using other substances, underage drinking can also lead to binge drinking. Even though youth may not drink as often as adults, when they consume alcohol, they tend to consume a lot more of it.

How We Help the Youth

Underage drinking is a serious issue that affects millions of young people in the United States daily. Our goal is to provide accurate information and educate adults and youth on making safe and healthy choices that can have a positive, lasting impact.

Our team focuses on youth health education for substance use as well as teen substance abuse prevention education. We offer a variety of services and programs that are centralized on helping teenagers with substance use.

In addition, we have a 24/7 Crisis Line, so if you need immediate assistance, we can be there to help!

If you are located in Montgomery County, Maryland, and have any concerns about yourself or a youth you know, contact us today so we can help answer your questions!

The Rise of Fentanyl Use in Teens

Did you know that fentanyl is up to 100 times stronger than morphine?

In recent years, the use of fentanyl has become a major public health concern. The availability of fentanyl is a key factor in its rise among teenagers. It is a synthetic opioid that is highly potent and can even be lethal in small doses. It is often mixed with other substances or sold as counterfeit prescription drugs.

With fentanyl becoming a growing concern, let’s take a look at six factors contributing to the increased use of fentanyl in teenagers.

1. Availability

A key factor driving the use of fentanyl in teenagers is its easy accessibility. It is often sold as a cheaper alternative to other drugs, which makes it more appealing to teens who are looking to save money.

Fentanyl can be purchased on the street or even online. It is sold mixed with other drugs like heroin or cocaine, but can also be sold as a less expensive, more potent alternative.

Many teenagers are ingesting fentanyl without even knowing it when they use these other drugs.

2. Misconception About Safety

Many teenagers have a common misconception about the safety of fentanyl. They believe that because it is considered a prescription drug, it is safe to use. Some teens believe that because it is a synthetic opioid, it is safer than alternative drug options like heroin and cocaine.

However, fentanyl is highly potent and can cause respiratory depression, which can lead to death even in small amounts of use.

3. Lack of Education

A lack of education about the negative effects of fentanyl use is a contributing factor to its rise. Many teenagers are not fully educated on the true dangers of fentanyl and the potential for overdose. They may not fully understand the potency of the drug and the risks that are associated with its use, such as long-term health consequences and potential addiction.

It is important to educate teens about the various dangers they can face with fentanyl along with other opioids in circulation.

4. Substance Use

A growing problem in the teen community is substance use, which also includes opioid usage. Teens that use other drugs like alcohol, marijuana, or prescription painkillers may be more likely to experiment with the use of fentanyl.

The increasing availability of fentanyl and the likelihood of experimenting with more dangerous drugs contribute to this problem more.

5. Mental Health Issues

With mental health issues also on the rise, concerns such as depression, anxiety, or trauma can also lead to the rise of fentanyl use in teens. Some teens may turn to fentanyl as a coping mechanism or a way to self-medicate underlying mental health issues.

Unfortunately, the use of fentanyl can actually enhance these issues and lead to more significant mental health concerns.

6. Substance Use Disorder

Once a teenager begins using fentanyl, it can quickly turn into a substance use disorder, making it difficult to stop. Substance use can even result in an overdose.

Also, teens with a history of substance use disorder may be more likely to experiment with fentanyl or other strong drugs.

Helping Our Teens

We believe it is essential to address the root causes of the rise of fentanyl overdoses in teens and educate both teens and their families on the dangers of fentanyl use.

With the use of fentanyl on the rise, our team is dedicated to providing resources and supporting those who are struggling with substance use. We offer a variety of services and programs focused on helping teenagers with substance use.

Our team has a 24/7 Crisis Line to help if you need immediate assistance in regards to someone you know and the use of fentanyl!

If you are located in Montgomery County, Maryland, and are looking for substance use education for yourself, your teen, or someone you know, contact us today so we can help answer your questions!

How Teen Substance Use Alters Brain Chemistry (And Other Risks)

The teenage years are a crucial period of development in our lives where we start to make decisions that will shape our future.

During this time, teenagers go through a lot of changes and developments that affect them both physically and mentally. Substance use can severely alter the brain’s growth and development, causing lasting effects that could be permanent.

Let’s explore how teen substance use not only alters brain chemistry but exposes teens to a host of other potential risks.

Brain Chemistry and Development
From the onset of adolescence throughout the teenage years, young people experience many developmental changes. These changes include brain chemistry and development.

The chemistry and development of the brain can be severely affected by substance use. The brain responds differently based on the type of addiction, type of substance, and frequency of engagement.

The longer teens engage in substance use during their developmental years, the more the brain’s chemistry is affected. These effects can lead to physical symptoms as well as changes to the nervous system.

As a result, they may begin to act differently, becoming unrecognizable in both their behavior and development.

The Brain’s Susceptibility to Substance Use

During the growth and development process, the pleasure part of the brain develops earlier and faster than the decision-making part of the brain.

This means that the decisions we make are not based on risk analysis, but instead on the pleasures we want most.

Substance experimentation is at a high during the teenage years – when our brain is quite vulnerable. Social benefits and the influence of friends will have a higher impact on a teen’s decision-making process than what is best for their overall health and well-being.

If you know a young person engaging in substance use or who may be susceptible to substance use, contact us to learn more about the teen substance use education programs we offer for support.

The Effects of Substance Use

Substance use can cause both short-term and long-term effects on the developing brain, overall health, and physical development.

Some of the major developmental effects on the teenage brain include:

  • Memory loss or memory difficulties
  • Developing unhealthy behaviors and habits
  • Damaging and interference of proper brain functionality and development

Other negative impacts of substance use could include:

  • Damaging relationships with others
  • Criminal charges
  • Missed academic and/or job opportunities
  • Unplanned accidents or transmissible diseases
  • Withdrawal symptoms

Any of these consequences could have a direct negative effect on a teen’s present situation and impact their future.

Finding Solutions

The Know the Risks MC campaign provides information on youth substance use education. We are here to educate you on the short- and long-term consequence of substance use and to help you find the best path forward for you or a young person who may be using or misusing substances.

With a variety of educational resources and programs available, we can easily find the one best suited to your needs.  Contact Us today, we’re here to help.  All it takes is one call.


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