- Alcohol consumption can weaken the body’s immune system and increase susceptibility to respiratory viral infections such as COVID-19. Learn about healthy ways to cope with fear and uncertainty.
- Some people try to use alcohol to deal with physical or emotional pain, but research has shown that it can make pain worse. Learn about City resources available to help those dealing with pain.
- Healthy coping practices can be as simple as creating space to exercise, video chatting with friends or family or spending five or ten minutes using a meditation app.
- Even small amounts of alcohol impact judgment, coordination, and the way you make decisions.
- Drinking alcohol during the teen years can harms the growing brain and increase the risk of developing alcohol use disorder later in life. The brain is not fully developed until age 25.
- The amount of liquid in a glass, can or bottle does not always match up with how much alcohol is in a drink.
In the United States, a standard drink contains about 0.6 fluid ounces, or 14 grams, of pure alcohol. Even though they come in different sizes, the drinks pictured below are examples of one standard drink and each contain approximately the same amount of alcohol.
- Binge drinking is the most common, costly, and deadly pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States. Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dl or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours.
- Addiction to alcohol or drugs is a disease. When one member of the family has this disease, all family members are affected.
- Research shows that alcoholism runs in families; young people with alcohol- or drug addicted parents are four times more likely to become addicted if they choose to drink alcohol or use illegal drugs. If substance misuse is in your family, it’s important to realize that you are at a higher risk of developing alcoholism if you drink.
- If someone pressures you to do anything that’s not healthy for you, such as drinking alcohol,
you have the right to say no.
- Test your knowledge about alcohol and drugs with this
interactive Kahoot quiz and this
Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge quiz.
- Want to hear what other teens are saying about staying healthy during COVID-19? Check out NIDA’s Drugs & Health Blog for teens to learn about drugs and addiction and tips for staying healthy. You can also comment on posts and talk with other teens.
Learn more facts about alcohol here.
- Modeling healthy coping mechanisms is one crucial way parents and caring adults can help prevent youth substance use and abuse in our community. If adults model that substances are needed to relieve stress, or used as a coping mechanism, it can send the wrong message to youth.
- Even though it might not seem like it, children and teens really do hear you when you talk to them about alcohol. By preparing and practicing for these scenarios, parents and caring adults can equip children and teens to make healthy decisions for their health and future. Talk early and often about the dangers of underage drinking and other substances.
- Look for and take opportunities to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol and other substances by having conversations about healthy decision-making and avoiding risky behaviors, with a focus on understanding and responding to peer pressure.
- Be prepared for questions, but do not assume youth are engaging in risky behaviors based on what they ask questions.
- Take time to try to find out what youth are really asking - do they want advice or a listening ear? One way to determine if you are on the same page is by checking for understanding and asking “What I heard you say was ___. Is this correct?”
- Use this year’s Red Ribbon Week theme (Be Happy. Be Brave. Be Drug Free.) as a way to talk to your teens about what they are feeling and how now more than ever it’s important to stay drug free.
Talk with your teens about what they can do if they are offered alcohol or other drugs and help your teen practice resisting peer pressure.
- Additional tips for addressing tough topics:
- Use teachable moments
- Communicate about your feelings and values
- Share a story and ask your child what they think
- Be honest about your concerns
- Check out these guides for more tips on how to address underage drinking:
What is peer pressure?
Peer pressure is the feeling that someone your own age is pushing you toward making a certain choice, good or bad. Peer pressure can take place in many settings, including online.There are various times of peer pressure, such as:
- Put-down/Spoken: Insulting or calling a person names
- Unspoken: Something you feel without anyone saying anything to you
- Rejection: Threatening to end a friendship or relationship
- Reasoning: Telling a person reasons why they should try something or why it would be OK
Why does peer
We all respond to peer pressure differently and sometimes it can be difficult to resist. Some reasons that teens may feel unable to resist peer pressure include that they are:
- Afraid of being rejected by others
- Want to be liked
- Do not want to lose a friend
- Want to appear grown up
- Do not want to be made fun of
- Do not want to hurt someone’s feelings
- Are not sure how to respond
- Are not sure what they really want
- Do not know how to get out of the situation
- Stand up straight
- Make eye contact
- Say how you feel
- Stick up for yourself
- Focus on your behavior and response
- Avoid being judgmental and putting down choices that others make.
- Honor your value system.
- Be confident
- Remember, “no” is a full sentence
Adult Substance Use & Mental Health Treatment
- Emergency Services: 703.746.3401 (24/7)
- Adult Intake: 703.746.3535
- Alexandria Residential Treatment Center (Short-term treatment for individuals with substance use disorders): 703.746.3636 (24/7)
Resources for Teens
- Child and Family Behavioral Health Services (For children with mental health or substance use challenges):
- Email: DCHSYouthIntake@alexandriava.gov
It is a Class 1 misdemeanor for anyone under 21 to buy, consume, or possess any alcohol beverage. Penalties upon conviction include:
- Mandatory minimum fine of $500 (up to $2,500) or a minimum of 50 hours of community service
- Loss of driver’s license for 6 to 12 months
- Up to 12 months in jail
- Possible expulsion from school if caught on school property and/or possible loss of participation in all after school activities
- The additional penalty for driving after illegally consuming alcohol is mandatory loss of a driver’s license for one year or a delay in obtaining a first license.
- For use of a fake ID to purchase an alcoholic beverage, the additional penalty is loss of a driver’s license for up to one year.
It is a Class 1 misdemeanor for adults to provide alcoholic beverages to any person under the age of 21. Penalties upon conviction include:
- A $2,500 fine per young person provided any alcoholic beverage
- Loss of the adult’s driver’s license for up to one year and/or one year in jail