Alcohol Use

The “101”

Alcohol consumption is part of our culture, so it’s vital that you know something about it. Here are the basics.

Alcohol is an ingredient in liquids that depresses the body’s nervous system.

Products that contain alcohol include beer, wine, and liquor.

Alcohol is harmful to your body when too much of it is consumed at one time, or over a period of time. Alcohol can impair brain function and motor skills. Heavy use of alcohol can increase your risk of certain cancers, stroke, and liver disease.

Alcohol can be addictive. Addiction is a situation where the body must have the substance or stimulation to avoid physical and psychological symptoms that come when the body tries to withdraw from the substance or stimulus. Addiction to alcohol is treatable.

It is illegal for individuals under age 21 to use alcohol.

A healthy decision would be to avoid taking up alcohol use or to limit the amount and frequency of your use. It’s also smart to skip it before you turn age 21, so you don’t put yourself at risk of getting in trouble with the law.

Reflect On It

Write in your journal (download journal) any thoughts you have as you think about this topic, using the questions below:

Learn More

Too Smart to Start Check out this website for facts about alcohol, underage alcohol use, and its consequences.

Alcohol Risk Assessment Take a quick 20-question quiz to determine if you or someone you know is at risk of alcohol dependence and in need of immediate assistance.

Take Action!

Resist the Pressure to Experiment with or Use Alcohol

Stand up to negative pressures by living Above the Influence. Take the quizzes and read the articles on their website. The more aware you are of the influences around you, the better prepared you will be to face them, including the pressure to use alcohol and drugs.

Prepare to Quit or Reduce Alcohol Use

A great place to start if you are considering quitting or reducing your use of alcohol is the Rethinking Drinking website. This website has resources to help you check your drinking pattern, determine if you might have a drinking problem, and get connected to help. (Younger-age youth may want to use this website with support of a caring adult.)

Get Treatment for Alcohol Overuse or Addiction

For help quitting or reducing your use of alcohol, set an appointment with your healthcare provider, or ask the adult responsible for your health care to set an appointment. If you or your family does not have health insurance, find free or low-cost substance abuse services by ZIP Code and type of service or the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or online.

Get Help in a Physical Emergency

Call 911 if you are having any type of physical emergency, including an adverse reaction to alcohol, or intoxication (drunkenness) to a level that you are not in control.

Get Help in an Emotional Emergency

Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or initiate a confidential online chat with a trained counselor if you are considering harming yourself for any reason, including your use of alcohol to numb negative emotions or moods.

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