the good news is that most kids don’t drink, we still have a
serious problem, both here in
they are in the minority, those kids who do drink are putting themselves
at great risk. Alcohol
can have powerful effects on anyone who uses it, but its use by children and
teenagers poses even higher risks for minds and bodies that are still
to the same survey results cited earlier, 6% of middle school students and
23% of high school students in Maine said they had
participated in "binge” drinking, that’s 5 or more drinks
in a row, on at least one occasion in the two weeks prior to the survey.
National research clearly demonstrates the many ways in which underage drinking is related to both small and large tragedies.
o Alcohol use clouds judgment and reduces inhibitions, both of which are critical safeguards during a developmental stage when risk-taking behavior is common.
o Alcohol use interferes with the development of social skills, critical thinking, academic achievement, and the ability to remember what is learned in school.
o Drinking is a factor in early and unprotected sexual activity among teenagers, sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancy, and sexual assault.
use is also implicated in all of the leading causes of death for youth – car
crashes, homicide, suicide, drownings and other injuries. In
kills more than 6 times more young people than all other illicit drugs
It does make a difference when we keep our kids alcohol-free. While 40% of kids who begin drinking before age 13 will develop alcohol abuse or dependence at some point in their lives, that proportion drops to below 10% for those who begin drinking after age 21. It’s worth the wait.
 Brown SA, Tapert SF, Granholm
E, et al., 2000. Neurological
functioning of adolescents: Effects of protracted alcohol use. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental
Research 24(2): 164-171. Acheson,
S.K., Stein, R.M., and Swartzwelder, H.S. (1998). Impairment
of Semantic and Figural Memory by Acute Ethanol: Age-dependent
Effects. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 22, 1437-1442
 Leadership to Keep Children
Alcohol Free, 2001. Keep
Kids Alcohol Free: Strategies for Action. NIH Publication No. 01-4780. Relationship
between alcohol consumption and victim behaviors immediately preceding
sexual aggression by an acquaintance. Nicole Turillon Harrington
and Harold Leitenberg. Violence and Victims 9(4):315-324. 1994. Beliefs
about the effects of alcohol on involvement in coercive and consenting
sexual activities. Kim Fromme and Julie Wendel. Journal of Applied
Social Psychology 25(23):2099-2117. 1995.
 Maine Department of Public
Safety, Bureau of
Highway Safety; http://www.maine.gov/dps/Bhs/youngdrivers1996.htm.
 Miller T. and The Pacific
Institute for Research and Evaluation. Adolescent
Deaths Attributable to Underage Drinking and to Illicit Drug Use.
 Grant BE,