5 prevention tips for Alcohol Awareness Month – for youth!
April is Alcohol Awareness Month and while alcohol can be dangerous for people of any age, for youth under the age of 21, drinking alcohol can have huge consequences. Your brains are not yet fully developed, which contrary to some teens’ beliefs, this is a good thing – you learn easier and faster. But a developing brain is also more susceptible to addiction and alcohol-related brain damage.
To help yourself and your friends, we have complied a list of 5 underage drinking prevention tips. These tips can even help the youth at your school or your after-school activities, so feel free to print it out or share it with those in your life.
5 prevention tips for underage drinking
The following list was adapted from an article on the NCADD website.
- Don’t be afraid to say “no”: This sounds like simple advice, but in the moment (especially if a cute guy or girl is asking if you want a drink!) it can be hard to say “no.” Here is the truth: if you are confident and having fun, people don’t care if you don’t drink. Check out this infographic for ways to say “no” if you aren’t comfortable with just saying “no thanks.”
- Have separate friend groups: If you love some friends, but not the bad choices they make at parties, make them “daytime friends.” Make plans with them to go shopping, see a movie or grab lunch and then make nighttime plans with your friends that don’t drink. You can still all go to the same parties, just choose to hang out with your sober friends at the party.
- Connect with adults: Hanging out with adults does not make you uncool and actually comes with a lot of benefits. They will never pressure you to drink, they can drive, they have crazy-wise stories to share and they will usually pick up the bill!
- Enjoy life: One of the most common reasons teens choose to drink is because they are bored. There is no reason to be bored – especially as the weather starts to get nicer! If you don’t currently have a hobby, job or after-school activity to keep you busy, simply Google “things to do in [insert your city name].” You will never have an excuse to be bored again.
- Have a backup plan: No matter how well you plan, sometimes life happens. Sometimes the friend(s) you brought to stay sober with you or drive you home make the mistake of drinking. Don’t panic. Call for help. Your parents, older siblings, family or other friends will help you – and you should always do the same for them.
We totally understand that it may seem scary or embarrassing to follow these tips or share them, but the truth is, most youth don’t drink! Once you use these tips to start conversations with your friends, you will be surprised how many of them are not interested in drinking but have been too scared to speak up. Team up with these people, be confident in your decision to not drink and don’t judge those who choose to drink – it is not your responsibility to change everyone.
Remember to always Give Yourself a Chance and say “no” to alcohol.