Underage Drinking Prevention
Underage drinking, when anyone under the minimum legal drinking age of 21 drinks alcohol, poses unique risks to developing adolescents and teens. When young people try alcohol they often don’t realize the damaging effects. Aside from being illegal, underage drinking is a widespread public health problem that has many consequences.
Below is a short list of useful websites and resources specific to Underage Drinking Prevention. Subscribe to stay informed of updates and send your requests and ideas to KPCTeam@wichita.edu.
The It Matters website and related educational campaigns are sponsored by Kansas Behavioral Health Services, which helps communities understand the extent and cause of substance abuse problems and take action to reduce and prevent them. Trained professionals help communities select proven prevention strategies and seek resources. Visit itmattersks.org for more information.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Due to the pervasive use of alcohol among youth, the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has declared underage drinking a serious public health problem in the United States. The associated consequences of underage drinking among youths goes beyond health and safety reasons. Underage drinking also causes aggressive behavior, property damage, injuries, violence and death. It has been reported that in 2014, 8.7 million young people aged 12-20 years old drank alcohol, more than few sips in the past month. NIH’s fact sheet on underage drinking can be found at pubs.niaaa.nih.gov.
Monitoring the Future
A national survey program that has been assessing, monitoring and reporting about the alcohol abuse among youth is called "Monitoring The Future (MTF)". This survey program conducted through the University of Michigan has been ongoing since 1975, with a focus on substance use among youth in the United States. It initially followed a cohort of 12th–graders through 55 years old until 1991 when it expanded by including 8th and 10th graders into the survey. According to their 2014 survey report, alcohol use among teenagers still remains a critical public health challenge. Recent statistics indicate a decline in alcohol abuse among teens, yet over one in every two students (66%) have once drank alcohol more than just a sip by the end of their high school years. Furthermore, about a quarter (27%) have consumed alcohol in the 8th grade. Also about half of the 12th graders (50%), and one out of every nine 8th-graders reported consuming alcohol in 2014, nationally. Additional facts can be accessed at monitoringthefuture.org.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Mothers Against Drunk Drinking is a nationally established non-profit organization that provides support systems for family and youth who are struggling with an alcohol problem. One of their key awareness program with related efforts is called the “Power of Parents". According to their report, car crashes are the leading cause of death among teens and 1/4 are caused by underage drinking. In their attempt to accelerate awareness about underage drinking, MADD provides age-specific handbooks for youth in high school and middle school. These can be found in both electronic form or in hard copies at madd.org.