Do you experience pressure from kids your age to drink alcohol? Maybe you have already tried alcohol and are now struggling with if it was the right decision. Maybe you are a teen that likes to drink because you think it helps you fit in or allows you to be surrounded by your friends more. Whatever the case, there is something you should know. When you make choices in your life, you should have all the facts and there are plenty of facts about the damage alcohol to your body to make you think twice about underage drinking.
Health consequences of underage drinking
- Underage drinkers are 22 times more likely to use marijuana, 50 times more likely to use cocaine and five times more likely to become alcoholics. (SAMHSA, 2006)
- Your brain doesnâ€™t fully develop until youâ€™re mid 20â€™s and drinking alcohol during this development phase can cause irreversible damage to your memory skills, verbal skills and ability to learn. (American Medical Association, 2003)
- Drinking alcohol can mess with your hormones, which can prevent normal development of organs, muscles, bones and the reproductive system. (National Institute of Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, Alcohol Alert, 2006)
- Alcohol tricks the brain's pleasure-reward system by stimulating the production of dopamine. Because your brain produces an abundance of dopamine (more than adults), you can rapidly go from trying alcohol to liking it; craving it, to needing it. This can create a quicker path to alcoholism. (Journal of Substance Abuse, 1997)
- Because your brain has not fully developed the same internal â€ścut-offâ€ť switch, which causes adults to fall asleep or pass-out when they drink too much alcohol, you are at greater risk for alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning can cause difficulty breathing, unconsciousness and death.
Statistics you should know
How to help a friend
Staying true to you
Underage drinking laws
Risks of underage drinking