Why It’s Important

Why It's Important to Talk to Your Students About Underage Drinking

Parents are the leading influence in a kids decision to drink or not to drink, yet they are not the only line of defense against underage drinking.

Teachers play a crucial role in guiding students in both their academic and social growth. Encouraging words from a teacher will boost confidence which can embolden youth to stand up for what they believe and be true leaders among their peers. Teachers, school counselors, and even school administrators encourage kids to excel in the classroom and should remind kids not to drink alcohol underage.

We encourage teachers to utilize the resource the Ask, Listen, Learn program provides in your classroom to start discussions around the importance of saying NO to underage drinking.

Tweens are undergoing many emotional and physical changes, and they’re fascinated by how their bodies and minds operate. Give your students plenty of information about how alcohol affects them physiologically.

  • Physically, alcohol affects many of the body’s organs and systems. It can irritate the stomach lining, make people lose their balance, throw up, and become unable to focus or speak clearly.
  • In rare circumstances an overdose — known as alcohol poisoning — can kill.
  • Emotionally, it can make young people stressed, angry, and violent.
  • Mentally, it can interfere with normal brain development.
  • It affects learning and memory, slows reactions, and often makes kids lose interest in getting good grades and staying in school.
  • In other cases, usually in larger amounts, it can act as a depressant, potentially leading to sleep, comas, and even death.
  • In some situations alcohol reduces inhibitions, leading to a wide range of risky situations.
  • Drinking too much over a long period of time can damage major organs, including the liver, pancreas, kidneys, and bone marrow.

The Facts

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More than 9 million Americans aged 12 to 20—nearly a quarter of underage kids—say they consumed alcohol in the past 30 days, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. (Source: 2012 NSDUH, September 2013)

That same study found that older teens are more likely to drink; 1 percent of 12 year olds compared to 29 percent of 17 year olds.

According to the 2013 Monitoring the Future Study, 28% of 8th graders report they have tried alcohol once in their lifetime and 12% report they have been drunk.

82% of parents think it is extremely important to have early conversations about alcohol as a way to combat peer pressure & delay potential experimenting. This conversation doesn’t always come naturally though and that’s where the Ask, Listen, Learn program comes in to help!

> Read Next The Teacher’s Role

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