You may think you know the truth about underage drinking and marijuana use. Let’s put it to the test.
It is not maturity, its biology. The young body cannot handle alcohol the way an adult one can. Alcohol impairs judgement and reflexes. It increases the chances that you will make terrible choices that you never would have made sober.
Time is the ONLY thing that can sober a person up. In order for your body to get back to normal and your brain be able to get back to its normal self, the body needs to flush out the bad. Coffee only creates a wide awake drunk and a shower only creates a wet one.
Every year over 4,300 youth die as a result of underage drinking. Additionally, the younger youth start drinking, the higher the likelihood for developing alcohol dependence later in life.
THC affects a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is necessary for learning. These affects can last long after the “high” is gone. In fact, college students who use are much more likely to drop out than those who do not.
The main active ingredient in marijuana, THC, stimulates brain cells to release the chemical dopamine, which creates a feeling of pleasure. One in six people who start in their teens will become addicted.
Driving is a divided attention task. THC mutes the senses needed to drive safely and the ability to react to changing dangers while driving. Effects include slower reactions, lane weaving, decreased coordination, and difficulty reacting to signals and sounds.


Not All Teens Drink. Actually Most Don't

You may know some teens who drink. You may even have tried it yourself. But the truth is three out of four teens don’t drink. That means the majority is staying alcohol free until 21! Learn the truth about teens and alcohol

  • Since the ‘90s teen drinking rates have steadily dropped year after year.
  • In 2015, teen alcohol use hit a historical low, and more teens admit that they don’t really approve of their friends who do binge drinking on the weekend (drinking a lot at once).
  • In the last years, more and more teens agree that drinking, even one or two drinks, can be dangerous.
  • Teens who drink alcohol are FIVE times more likely to drop out of school.


You have the power to protect yourself – and your friends. Will you use it?
  • Participate in Red Ribbon Week or other alcohol-free school activities. Find some fun in our Student Leader Toolkit.
  • Take to social media! Use your influence by sharing your views on underage drinking.
  • Read the Power of You(th) teen booklet where you can pledge to not drink until 21 and make plans to avoid peer pressure.
  • Share the Power of You(th) teen booklet so you and your friends can make a pact to never ride with a drinking driver.
  • Pay attention – if you think your friend has a problem, don’t wait to speak up. Talk to a parent or trusted adult about your concerns.


My friends and I know driving drunk is dumb, so we are fine right?

Wrong! The reality is that more young people suffer injuries and die from alcohol-related incidences than from all other illegal drugs combined.

In fact, two-thirds of underage drinking teen deaths do NOT even involve car crashes. Some of the consequences include:

  • Alcoholism – Teens who start drinking at the age of 15 or 16 are FIVE times more likely to become alcohol dependent than adults who start drinking after the age of 21.
  • Drowning, fires, and falls – Alcohol impairment can result in serious injuries that can even lead to death.
  • Alcohol poisoning – Binge drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning. Call 911 if you think a friend has alcohol poisoning.
  • Sexual assault and pregnancy – Alcohol can take away the ability to make safe and healthy choices or protect yourself.
  • Getting caught with alcohol could lead to getting kicked off of a sports team, losing the driver’s license, or even jeopardizing college scholarships.


“I don’t drink, so I have nothing to worry about…no need to talk about it.” Think again.

One in three teens admit to being the passenger of a drinking driver.  Have you ever been there?  How can you keep you and your friends out of that situation? Have you ever thought about it?  What can you do?

  • Keep your friends safe: teens who believe that their friends are totally against riding with a drinking driver are less likely to hop in the car.
  • Text a trusted adult a planned code word that you need a safe ride home.
  • Download a rideshare app or have the number to a taxi so that if you are in an uncomfortable or unsafe situation, you have a way out.
  • Believe that your parents or a trusted adult would rather pick you up than see you get hurt or worse.
  • If necessary, the safest – and one of the hardest – things to do is call 911 to report a friend is driving drunk. It could save their life.

“I always have a code word or fake text ready so my parents can help me get out of an uncomfortable situation. I can blame them and not look uncool in the process.” – Sarah, 18, New York



Alcohol isn’t always an easy subject to bring up with your parents.

kenya-png“My parents and I have always had an understanding that drinking alcohol wasn’t for me. I watched family members, close friends, and elders I knew let alcohol tear their life, dreams, and aspirations apart, and I told my parents that was not going to be me!

I knew I wanted to live healthy: mentally, physically and spiritually, so I was determined to live each day responsibly without alcohol.

I remembered a question my parents asked me: What’s your motive for drinking alcohol? And as I thought about it, I had no motive because I will face problems to the day I die and just drinking for a good time isn’t going to make my problems or issues disappear.

So, I decided that alcohol wasn’t going to become a part of me, and my parents 100% enforced and supported my decision, inspiring me to find other ways to enjoy life and live it to the fullest.” -Kenya, 19, Louisiana

If you need help, here are some tips:

  • Be honest with your concerns – Ask for support to develop a safe way out of a dangerous situation.
  • Respect their opinion – You don’t have to agree with them, but it’s important to try to see things from their perspective.
  • Don’t let the conversation about drinking get sidetracked by other issues or old arguments – If the discussion doesn’t go the way you hoped, try again later. This is important.
  • Talking openly about alcohol can build trust and may be rewarded with gaining more privileges and independence.

Don’t Stand Alone!

Invite others in your community or school to get involved!

Share the toolkit below with others in your community who want to protect teens from the dangerous consequences of underage drinking.  MADD has a toolkit specifically designed for Student Leaders, Educators, School Resource Officers, and Community Partners.


National Program Partners