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StopAlcoholAbuse.Gov is a comprehensive portal of Federal resources for information on underage drinking and ideas for combating this issue. Community members interested in underage drinking prevention—including but not limited to parents, educators, youth, concerned citizens, prevention specialists, business leaders, law enforcement and public health officials—will find a wealth of valuable information here. The resources featured to the right are among the many useful materials available on this site to aid your underage drinking prevention efforts.

The Surgeon General’s Call to Action
To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking

and other related materials

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Help Support Children of Alcoholics (CoA) Week, February 13 to 19, 2011

CoA Week reminds all Americans that children of alcoholics can avoid the negative effects of familial alcoholism and drug dependence with support from family, friends, health professionals, teachers, clergy, and others. This annual observance raises awareness about ways to build resilience in children to overcome and avoid repeating family alcohol problems. From 2002 to 2007, 7.3 million children lived with a parent who was dependent on or abused alcohol. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study tracks the impact of alcohol abuse, among other stresses. The more stress a child endures, the greater the risk he or she has of developing health and social problems, including alcoholism. Though at greater risk, most CoA do not develop problems with alcohol, often benefitting from effective prevention and intervention.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration urges communities to participate in CoA Week on its Facebook page and has a number of related publications, including a Child Welfare Training Toolkit. The National Association for Children of Alcoholics offers CoA Week posters, pamphlets, and proclamations.

Don't Wait Until Super Bowl Half-Time To Talk to Youth About Alcohol

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has partnered with the National Football League, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and other national organizations to bolster efforts to prevent impaired driving during and after Super Bowl Sunday. Through its Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk campaign, this partnership has developed an online planner, which is available to help media promote and others enjoy a safe Super Bowl. According to NHTSA, nearly 50 percent of all traffic fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday are alcohol related. Motor vehicle crashes kill and injure more young people than any other cause. The promotional communications planner can be used to convey lifesaving messages to youth and help reduce their access to alcohol. With a downloadable feature, the planner includes television and radio public service announcements, graphics for print or Web, a national press release template, and a factsheet. These resources can help connect States, organizations, and communities in the national effort to prevent and reduce underage drinking. Explicitly stated throughout the materials is the edict to not serve alcohol to anyone under age 21.

Department of Justice Study Shows Strong Link between Serious Juvenile Offending and Alcohol and Illicit Drug Use

A recent Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention bulletin (PDF) reported data indicating that serious juvenile offending and use of alcohol and illicit drugs are frequently connected, although no causal link was established. The findings are based on data from the Justice Department’s long-term Pathways to Desistance study, which followed more than 1,300 serious juvenile offenders for 7 years after their first conviction. The data also suggest that use of illicit drugs and alcohol is a better predictor of offending than offending is of drug use.

During the baseline interviews for the study, 37 percent of males and 35 percent of females had a diagnosable dependence on illicit drugs and/or alcohol. Others were using such drugs or alcohol in a way that could lead to dependence. Eighty percent reported using alcohol at some point in their lives, while 40 percent had used alcohol in the past 6 months, averaging one to three times a month.

Some Students Still Failing the Test on Alcohol-Free School Property

According to a report by the U.S. Department of Education, 4 percent of high school students had at least one drink of alcohol on school property during the preceding month in 2009. Although this percentage is not measurably different from that recorded for 1993, alcohol consumption by underage students on school property continues to be a serious concern because it may lead to other crimes and misbehavior. In comparison, the percentage of high school students reporting alcohol consumption anywhere in the past 30 days decreased from 48 percent in 1993 to 42 percent in 2009.

Emergency Department Visits Related to Underage Drinking Spike on New Year’s Day

A just-released Data Spotlight report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates that underage drinking-related emergency department (ED) visits increase by 250 percent or more on New Year's Day. On New Year's Day 2009, there were an estimated 1,980 ED visits related to underage alcohol use compared to 546 such visits on an average day. SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., described this stunning increase as “a wakeup call” to parents and others about the potential risk young people face from alcohol-related accidents, injuries, and deaths—particularly at this time of year.

New Anti-Drunk Driving Strategy Features an Offer They Can’t Refuse

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood kicked off a holiday drunk driving crackdown and applauded law enforcement officials who have pioneered the “No Refusal” strategy to get drunk drivers, including underage drinkers, off the road.

The “No Refusal” strategy gives law enforcement officers the ability to quickly obtain warrants from “on call” judges in order to take blood samples from suspected impaired drivers who refuse a breathalyzer test. According to DOT ’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a large proportion of people pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI) refuse to take an alcohol breathalyzer test hoping to avoid prosecution. States that have adopted “No Refusal” programs report more guilty pleas, fewer trials, and more convictions for DUI—an outcome that supports prosecution and makes more drivers think twice before drinking and driving. Guidance on adopting this effective strategy is available online through the NHTSA Weekend No-Refusal Toolkit.

Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Urges Americans To Celebrate the Holidays Safely

ONDCP has reaffirmed its commitment to Americans in recovery, reminding us that the holiday season is both a time of cheer and of challenges to those struggling with substance use disorders. One little-known fact is that underage youth are a significant percentage of those in recovery from alcohol problems. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (PDF), 9.5 percent of treatment admissions for alcohol abuse were for people under age 20. By offering nonalcoholic alternatives, you can help meet the needs and preferences of many who attend your holiday event.

ONCDP provides nonalcoholic drink recipes, including mocha or peppermint hot chocolate and mulled apple cider with orange and ginger, to make nonalcoholic alternatives fun and appealing.

2010 Monitoring the Future Survey Results Released

The 2010 Monitoring the Future survey, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), found that alcohol use has decreased in the past 6 years among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. The survey found that 2010 marks the lowest level of alcohol use for 12th graders since the study’s inception in 1975 and the lowest point for 8th and 10th graders since these grades were first included in the study in 1991. Binge drinking and consumption of flavored alcoholic beverages each continued a downward trend. 

However, a majority of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders still report that is it “fairly easy” or “very easy” to obtain alcohol, with no significant decline in those numbers over the last 2 years. Similarly, the perceived risk of drinking alcohol has not risen significantly during the same period. So, while great progress has been made during the past 6 years, areas of concern for prevention professionals remain. The University of Michigan conducts the annual study.

Younger drivers have higher rates of alcohol- and drug-impaired driving

State Estimates of Drunk and Drugged Driving, a new survey just released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, found that,on average, 13.2 percent of all people 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol and 4.3 percent drove under the influence of illicit drugs in the past year. Younger drivers aged 16 to 25 had a much higher rate of drunk driving compared to those aged 26 or older (19.5 percent versus 11.8 percent).  Similarly, people aged 16 to 25 had a much higher rate of drugged driving than those aged 26 or older (11.4 percent versus 2.8 percent).

A positive finding of the study is that national rates of drunk and drugged driving declined significantly between 2002–2005 and 2006–2009, from 14.6 to 13.2 percent for drunk driving and from 4.8 to 4.3 percent for drugged driving.  

Healthy People 2020: New Health Goals for the New Decade

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has just released Healthy People 2020, a national blueprint for health promotion and disease prevention for the next decade. HHS also has launched a newly redesigned Healthy People Web site that allows users to tailor information to their needs and explore evidence-based resources for implementation.

Healthy People 2020 lists 21 objectives for reducing substance abuse. Several subobjectives directly address the prevention of underage drinking, such as “increase the proportion of at risk adolescents aged 12 to 17 years who, in the past year, refrained from using alcohol for the first time.” A Healthy People Web site section, Implementing Healthy People, offers MAP-IT as an interactive framework to help professionals plan and evaluate public health interventions to achieve objectives. Steps in the framework are to Mobilize, Assess, Plan, Implement, and Track.

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

President Barack Obama has declared December 2010 as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. The proclamation states, in part, that “it is critical that we encourage our young people and fellow citizens to make responsible decisions when driving or riding as a passenger, especially if drug use is apparent.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (PDF), about 13,000 people were killed in 2007 in alcohol-impaired driving crashes—about one death every 40 minutes. Approximately 1,500 of those who died were 16 to 20 years old. In a national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 10 teens reported having driven after drinking alcohol within the previous month. Nearly 3 out of 10 teens reported that they had ridden with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.

Federal Agencies Take the Wheels Off of CABs

Within days of broad Federal action, four major producers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages, or CABs, notified the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that they will cease production and shipping of certain brands of CABs; will remove these beverages from retail stores by December 13, 2010; or will do both.

CABs are premixed beverages that contain both caffeine and alcohol. On November 17, 2010, FDA issued warning letters to four CAB manufacturers, stating that the caffeine added to their alcoholic malt beverages is an “unsafe food additive” and that further action, including seizure of their products, is possible under Federal law. On the same day, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent warning letters to four marketers of CABs, warning that marketing these beverages—which present “unusual risks to health and safety”—may constitute an unfair or deceptive practice that violates the FTC Act. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau notified the same companies that interstate or foreign sales or shipping of CABs is illegal if these drinks fail to meet FDA food safety standards.

One danger posed by these beverages is that caffeine—a stimulant—may make drinkers less aware of their level of intoxication, possibly leading them to drink more and be at greater risk for accidents and injuries. CABs that are marketed as energy drinks pose a special risk to young people, who already are heavy consumers of nonalcoholic energy drinks. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fact sheet on CABs, 31 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds and 34 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds report regular consumption of energy drinks.

Heavy drinking linked to impulsive behavior—including increased alcohol consumption later in life—in boys

New research indicates that a significant relationship exists between the amount of alcohol an individual ingests and consequent changes in levels of impulsive behavior. According to Rutgers University researcher Helene R. White, Ph.D., “Heavy alcohol use in adolescence may lead to alterations in brain structure and function that reduce behavioral (impulse) control, which could, in turn, promote further heavy drinking.”

The study was supported by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which are members of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking, and others.

The study underlines the important role of prevention in reducing underage drinking. “Decreasing heavy drinking during adolescence may decrease impulsivity by preventing damage to crucial brain areas. Therefore, decreasing drinking during adolescence could result in improved self-control at later ages,” said Andrew Littlefield, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at the University of Missouri.

NIAAA-supported study finds strategies to reduce college drinking

When colleges and their communities target off-campus drinking settings for interventions, harmful alcohol use among college students, including underage drinkers, can decrease, according to a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism-funded study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) December 2010 issue.

In the randomized trial, policy and enforcement interventions were implemented in 7 of the 14 California universities that participated in the study; the additional 7 were monitored for comparison. Researchers found significantly greater reductions in the incidence and likelihood of intoxication at off-campus parties and at bars and restaurants for students enrolled in the intervention universities.

“These findings [indicate] … that student drinking is amenable to a combination of well-chosen, evidence-based universal prevention strategies,” says Dr. Robert Saltz, Ph.D., lead researcher. For more information, listen to the AJPM podcast.

New Video from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Addresses Dangers of Binge Drinking

The CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) released a video that explores the health risks associated with binge drinking, including unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, injury, car crashes, violence, and HIV/AIDS.

The video discusses effective community prevention strategies, such as:

  • Increasing alcohol excise taxes.
  • Reducing the number of places where people can purchase alcohol.
  • Reducing days and hours for alcohol sales.
  • Maintaining and enforcing the age 21 minimum legal drinking age.

In the video, Capt. Robert Brewer, MD, MSPH, Alcohol Program Leader of the Chronic Disease Center, debunks common myths and urges communities to create an environment that discourages binge drinking and underage drinking. View the Binge Drinking video on CDC-TV.

One in Four High School Students and Young Adults Report Binge Drinking

Sixty percent of high school students who drink, binge drink. When high school students are combined with adults between the ages of 18 and 34, more than one in four engaged in binge drinking during the past month, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Binge drinking is defined as having four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men over a short period of time, usually a couple of hours. The report states that levels of binge drinking have not declined during the past 15 years.

CDC scientists analyzed data on self-reports of binge drinking within the past 30 days for about 412,000 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older from the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and for approximately 16,000 U.S. high school students from the 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

2009 Monitoring the Future Survey

The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA’s) 2009 Monitoring the Future survey reports a softening of attitudes in some alcohol measures. Fewer 10th graders viewed weekend binge drinking (five or more drinks on one occasion in the past 30 days) as harmful, and fewer high school seniors disapproved of having one or two drinks every day. Although alcohol use has decreased in the past 5 years among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, these softened attitudes warrant concern among the underage drinking prevention community. The University of Michigan conducts the annual study, supported by a grant from NIDA.

NIAAA Study finds that 12- to 17-year olds  are “intoxicated” with fewer drinks than adults

Drink for drink, the average blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) attained by children and adolescents are much higher than those seen among college students or adults, according to a new study supported by NIAAA that appeared in the June 2009 issue of Pediatrics.

Alcohol Use Before and After the 21st Birthday

This issue of The NSDUH Report examines alcohol use before and after the 21st birthday. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, among young adults approaching their 21st birthdays (i.e., persons surveyed in the 30 days prior to their 21st birthdays)―86.1 percent had used alcohol in their lifetime, including 62.8 percent who had initiated use before their 18th birthdays. Rates of past month and binge alcohol use were higher among young adults who had recently turned 21 than among those who were still 20 years old. Rates of past month and binge alcohol use among 21 year olds declined and then stabilized in the months following their 21st birthdays, but their rates still remained higher than those for 20 year olds.

A Developmental Perspective on Underage Alcohol Use

This Alcohol Alert, by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, examines the complex relationship between underage drinking and development: how developmental factors influence drinking, the social and physical consequences of alcohol use, and how various developmental stages can be specifically targeted to design more effective measures for preventing or treating underage drinking.

Prevention Program Helps Teens Override a Gene Linked to Risky Behavior

Researchers have found that a family-based substance abuse prevention program is especially effective in helping young teens with a genetic risk factor contributing to risky behavior. The study, supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, monitored the progress of 11-year-olds carrying a gene associated with impulsivity, low self-control, binge drinking, and substance abuse. Tweens who participated in the program were less likely to engage in these risky behaviors than those in the comparison group.

“The findings underscore that ‘nurture’ can influence ‘nature’ during adolescence, a pivotal time when delaying the start of alcohol consumption and other risky behaviors can have a significant impact on healthy child development,” says NIAAA Acting Director Kenneth R. Warren, Ph.D. “This study is one of the first to combine prevention research with a gene-environment study design.”

Underage Drinking and Halloween: A Nightmare on Any Street

The scariest part of Halloween isn’t the spooky costumes and frightening pranks. Thanks to alcohol-impaired driving, Halloween night is often one of the deadliest nights of the year on the Nation’s highways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for all of 2008, 36 percent (PDF) of all highway fatalities involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, which is illegal in every State. But on Halloween night in 2008, 60 percent of all highway fatalities across the Nation involved a driver with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. Although drinking any amount is illegal for them, during 2008, 17 percent (PDF) of 16- to 20-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes had BAC levels of 0.08 or higher.

National survey reveals increases in substance use from 2008 to 2009

The use of illicit drugs among Americans increased between 2008 and 2009 according to a national survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows the overall rate of current illicit drug use in the United States rose from 8.0 percent of the population aged 12 and older in 2008 to 8.7 percent in 2009.  This rise in overall drug use was driven in large part by increases in marijuana use.

The rate of current tobacco use or underage drinking among 12- to 17-year-olds remained stable between 2008 and 2009.

To view the report, click here. To read the related press release, click here.

Hispanic Heritage Month: A Time To Celebrate and Support a Rich and Diverse Culture

Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins on September 15 and runs through October 15, celebrates the culture and contributions of generations of Hispanic Americans who have enriched the Nation. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) supports the continued vitality of the Hispanic/Latino culture through a number of special initiatives that promote the health and well-being of this population. SAMHSA produces resources in Spanish specifically to help Hispanic communities, parents, and other caregivers prevent and reduce underage drinking. The SAMHSA/Ad Council campaign, “Háblales a temprana edad. Háblales con frecuencia. Haz que los demás participen.” (“Talk EARLY. Talk OFTEN. Get Others INVOLVED.”), encourages parents to speak with their children about underage drinking. Listos, en sus marcas…!Escuchen! (Ready, Set, Listen!), is a Web-based game designed to help parents and young people talk to each other about underage alcohol use, why it’s not smart, and how to prevent it. Two Guides to Action based on the Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking are available for Hispanic families and communities: Llamado a la acción del Cirujano General para prevenir y reducir el consumo de alcohol por menores de edad: Lo que significa para usted—Guía de acción para las familias and Llamado a la acción del Cirujano General para prevenir y reducir el consumo de alcohol por menores de edad: Lo que significa para usted—Guía de acción para las comunidades. Additional publications for and about Hispanics are available through the SAMHSA Web site.

Labor Day Drinking and Driving Crackdown Can Save Young Lives

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is promoting a National Impaired Driving Prevention Enforcement Crackdown  from August 20 through September 10, to coincide with the Labor Day holiday—an effort likely to save young lives.  NHTSA’s impaired driving initiative places special emphasis on reaching high-risk populations, such as those under age 21 and high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) offenders. In 2007, 24.1 percent of 15- to 20-year-old drivers who were killed in a crash had a BAC of .08 or higher. While a BAC of .08 is the legal limit for those 21 and over, all States have zero-tolerance laws that make it illegal for people under age 21 to drive after any drinking. NHTSA discourages impaired driving through high-visibility law enforcement with supporting communication campaigns, enhanced prosecution and adjudication, and medical screening and brief intervention for alcohol abuse problems.

New Publication Available on Prevention Models for College Campuses

Field Experiences in Effective Prevention: The U.S. Department of Education’s Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Models on College Campuses Grants, published by the Higher Education Center (HEC), describes the experiences of the Department of Education’s (ED) model grantees of 2005, 2006, and 2007. Through 12 case studies, the publication relays experiences, lessons learned, and recommendations to assist campuses in developing and implementing effective prevention programs on their campuses and in surrounding communities. Some of these case studies include specific programs and strategies to prevent underage drinking.  Field Experiences is a followup to Experiences in Effective Prevention, published in 2005, which covered the 1999–2001 and 2004 grantees. HEC is supported by ED’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, and the publication reflects the department’s perspective on developing, implementing, and sustaining evidence-based prevention.

To obtain copies of this publication, email edpubs@inet.ed.gov or call 1–877–433–7827. Other ways to access the publication, including a downloadable PDF, are available at the HEC Web site.

Underage Drinking-Related Hospital Department Visits Nearly Double over the Fourth of July Weekend

Hospital emergency department visits involving underage drinking nearly double during the Fourth of July Holiday weekend according to a new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The study reveals that daily underage drinking-related visits to hospital emergency departments are 87 percent higher during the Fourth of July weekend than they are on an average day in July. To view the related press release, click here. To view the study, click here (PDF).

Youth Risk Behavior Survey Reveals That 72.5 Percent of High School Students Have Used Alcohol

According to the 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) released in early June, alcohol remains the substance with the highest rate of use among high school students at 72.5 percent, a level similar to that found in the 2007 study. For more information on underage alcohol use and youth behavior that contributes to unintentional injury and violence, click here (PDF).

National, State, and local YRBS studies, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are conducted every 2 years among high school students throughout the United States to monitor a full range of health risk behaviors.

Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages Are Heavily Marketed to Youth

Caffeinated alcoholic beverages (CABs) are premixed beverages that combine alcohol, caffeine, and other stimulants. CABs usually have a higher alcoholic content (5 to 12 percent) than beer (4 to 5 percent). Since their introduction, CABs have experienced rapid growth in popularity, with two leading brands together increasing sales from 337,500 gallons in 2002 to more than 22.9 million gallons in 2008.

Some of that popularity may be due to heavy marketing in youth-friendly media with youth-oriented graphics and messaging. For instance, marketers target Web sites with downloadable images and connect CABs with extreme sports or other risk-taking behaviors that appeal to youth.

Additional details on CABs are available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site.

Parental R-Rated Movie Restriction and Early-Onset Alcohol Use

A recent study sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism links children’s freedom to watch R-rated adult movies with another adult behavior: drinking. According to the study, young adolescents whose parents let them watch R-rated movies may be over three times more likely to try drinking alcohol at an earlier age. This finding lends support to research suggesting that watching movies with alcohol use is associated with earlier youth drinking. To view the study’s abstract, click here

New Study Shows that Underage Drinking-Related Hospital Emergency Department Visits Rise 11 Percent over the Memorial Day Weekend

Daily hospital emergency department visits involving those under age 21 who used alcohol combined with other drugs are 27 percent higher during this holiday period. A new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reveals that daily underage drinking-related visits to hospital emergency departments are 11 percent higher during the Memorial Day weekend than they are on an average day. The latest Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report (PDF) estimates that on an average day, there are 519 hospital emergency department visits involving underage alcohol use. For the three day Memorial Day weekend, however, the number of daily hospital emergency department visits jumps to 577.

Quick Quiz Widget

Ready for a challenge? The Quick Quiz widget is an interactive and periodically changing feature that tests users’ knowledge on underage drinking. It is generated from the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking’s research findings. The questions and answers are intended to stimulate discussions about preventing and reducing underage drinking among parents, educators, community-based organizations, and youth.

There is no cost to maintain the widget and very little time is required to copy it and share it with others. Test your knowledge today!

TSTS Newsroom and Widget: Save Time, Stay Informed, Share

snapshot of widget

The In the News newsroom, now featured on the Too Smart To Start (TSTS) home page, keeps individuals and organizations informed with the latest news on underage drinking. Sponsored by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), the newsroom is updated regularly with local, State, and national articles published by online sources. Sources include the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and its key partners, mainstream media, government agencies, and other reputable producers of news content. The newsroom features an archive for retrieval of past articles and a searchable database to make finding articles easier.

Also available is a widget that displays the newsroom content directly on your organization’s Web site. There’s no cost and very little time required to copy the widget and share up-to-date news on underage drinking.

April Is Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol Awareness Month provides an important opportunity to address the issue of underage alcohol use and raise awareness about its devastating effects on our youth. To focus on this serious issue, communities across the Nation are participating in Town Hall Meetings (THMs) on underage drinking prevention. These events kicked off March 22 and will continue to take place throughout the spring and summer. Nearly 2,000 underage drinking prevention THMs will be conducted in communities across the country this year. Most communities will use the THMs as a springboard for planning and implementing a wide range of local underage drinking prevention initiatives that build upon their THM discussions and the evidence-based strategies presented at those events.

To coincide with the Alcohol Awareness Month observance, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Ad Council launched an underage drinking prevention public service advertising campaign that features online English and Spanish resources to provide parents with information and tools to help them open an ongoing conversation with their preteen and teen children about the dangers of underage alcohol use.

For additional information on how to prevent underage drinking in your community, see The Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking: What It Means to You—A Guide to Action for Communities.

SAMHSA and Ad Council Launch Underage Drinking Prevention Campaign

The campaign, “Talk EARLY. Talk OFTEN. Get Others INVOLVED.”, developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in partnership with the Ad Council, encourages parents to speak with their children about underage drinking in order to delay the onset of and ultimately reduce underage drinking. Read the press release. View the public service ads (PSAs). Brochures in English (PDF 12 MB) and Spanish (PDF 9 MB) are now available.

Spring Break: Safe, Healthy, Carefree, and Fun

For many students, spring break is a carefree time away from classroom pressures. Unfortunately, for many it is also a time of excessive drinking and dealing with its aftermath—violence, sexual aggression, and even death. As your college-age sons and daughters prepare to celebrate their spring break escape, take the opportunity to talk with them about the consequences of drinking. During these conversations, it is critical to discuss how alcohol affects the body and how long these effects can last. Make this year’s spring break memorable by having fun and helping yourself, your friends, and others stay safe and healthy.

New Study: Alcohol Use and Binge Drinking Levels Among Blacks Are Below the National Average

The current alcohol use rate for blacks aged 18 and older is significantly lower than the national adult average (44.3 percent versus 55.2 percent) according to a new study based on a national survey. The study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also reveals that black adults have a lower rate of current binge drinking than the national adult average (21.7 percent versus 24.5 percent). Young black adults (aged 18-25) are markedly less likely to be currently engaged in binge drinking than young adults in the general population (25.3 percent versus 41.6 percent).

Costs of Underage Drinking in Your State

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice, a member of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking, supports the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center. Using 2007 data, the Center has developed individual two-page factsheets profiling each State’s underage drinking problems. Included are economic costs, broken down by such categories as youth traffic crashes and youth injury; youth alcohol consumption statistics for the State; and key figures for harm associated with underage drinking. The “Underage Drinking Costs” factsheets can be accessed through the Center’s clickable map.

Children of Alcoholics (CoA) Week Observance
February 14–20, 2010

Children of Alcoholics (CoA) week is a timely reminder of the power of prevention. CoAs are “between 4 and 10 times more likely to become alcoholics than children from families with no alcoholic adults,” according to the U.S. Surgeon General. Thanks to ongoing prevention efforts, many CoAs do not engage in underage drinking nor do they repeat their family history of substance abuse.

Town Hall Meetings (THMs) to prevent underage drinking are now being organized in communities across the country. Many of these THMs will focus on the risks faced by children in families with substance abuse problems and will present effective prevention strategies to address this and similar issues.

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Last Reviewed on 2/8/2011