Underage Drinking and Alcohol Abuse

What You Don't Know

Alcohol continues to be the most abused substance by children and teens. Underage drinking has serious consequences which affect everyone. In the United States alone, by age 18 about 60% of teens have reported having at least one drink.  Binge drinking (consuming four or more drinks in a single sitting) is also a common problem among adolescents. People between the ages of 12 and 20 represent 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States alone. Studies show consuming high amounts of alcohol before the brain has fully developed comes with serious risks and side effects. 

Underage drinking comes with many more side effects, both short term, and long term.

Short-Term Effects


Slurred speech

Alcohol smell on breath or clothes

Coordination problems

Extreme mood swings

Neglecting responsibilities

Long-Term Effects


Damaged brain function

Hard time remembering

Poor motor skills

Liver damage

High blood pressure


Risk Factors

Biological: People whose family members have a history of alcoholism or alcohol abuse may be more inclined genetically to participate in underage drinking. 

Environment: Those with parents who may drink more than average or those who lack adult supervision are more likely to use alcohol themselves.

Peer Pressure: Kids and teenagers may be pressured by their peers' attitudes to abuse alcohol.


The key to preventing underage drinking is educating kids and teenagers about the risks. Parents can help by having conversations with their children about the dangers of underage drinking, the side effects long term drinking may cause, and encouraging their children to say no in situations where they are given a chance to drink under the age of 21. For schools, continuing partnership with drug and alcohol education programs is key to keeping students informed about the effects underage drinking may have on them academically and physically. 


Are you or someone you love dealing with an addiction?

You are not fighting alone.

Norwich Unhooked partners with multiple local doctors, counselors, and hospitals in Norwich to help aid the community with substance abuse disorder treatment and prevention measures.