Underage Drinking 

Underage drinking is a significant problem in the United States. Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance among teens in junior high and high school. The consequences of underage drinking affect the whole family. Alcohol use during the teenage years is related to a wide range of health and social problems. Alcohol interferes with a person's perception of reality and ability to make good decisions. This can be particularly hazardous for kids and teens that have less problem-solving and decision-making experience.

Drinking alcohol can damage your health. It can affect the normal development of vital organs and functions, including the brain, liver, bones and hormones. Underage drinking is associated with increased health risks, including alcohol-related injuries, involvement in violence, and suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Drinking at an early age is also associated with risky behavior, such as violence, having more sexual partners, pregnancy, using drugs, employment problems and drunk driving. Long before you are presented with a chance to drink alcohol, you can decrease the chances by just saying "NO." 

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Short-term effects of drinking include:

  • Distorted vision, hearing, and coordination
  • Altered perceptions and emotions
  • Impaired judgment, which can lead to accidents, drowning, and other risky behaviors like unsafe sex and drug use
  • Hangovers

Long-term effects include:

  • Cirrhosis and cancer of the liver
  • Loss of appetite
  • Serious vitamin deficiencies
  • Stomach ailments
  • Heart and central nervous system damage
  • Memory loss
  • Increased risk of impotence
  • High risk for overdosing

If you, or someone you know, have become dependent on alcohol, the frequency and amount of drinking will be difficult to fully control. Don’t be afraid to talk with someone you trust. Speaking with your doctor may be a good place to start. Try to be accurate and honest about how much you drink and any problems it may be causing you. Cutting down or stopping drinking is usually just the beginning and most people will need some degree of help or a long-term plan to stay in control and completely alcohol-free.

Getting the right support can be crucial to maintaining control in the future. Only relying on family and friends for this often is not enough. 

Bureau of Alcohol & Drug Abuse
Phone: 601-359-1288 • Fax: 601-359-6295
24 hours a day every day / Toll-Free 1-877-210-8513
www.dmh.state.ms.us
 
Mississippi Community Mental Health Centers
Regions 1-15 Call toll free, 877-210-8513, for the center closest to you
or visit http://www.dmh.state.ms.us/community_care.htm
 
What a Difference a Friend Makes by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration
www.whatadifference.org • http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/
 
National Institute on Drug Abuse
http://www.drugabuse.gov http://teens.drugabuse.gov
 
Parents: The Anti-Drug
http://www.theantidrug.com
 
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America
212-922-1560http://www.drugfree.org/parent
 
National Crime and Punishment Learning Center
(228) 896-8696www.crimeandpunishment.net 

Disclaimer: The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office is not responsible for the content of listed websites, which may have changed since review.

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