Fact 1: The Sober Truth About Teen Drinking

Did you know that starting to drink at a young age can actually hinder brain development? Research shows that teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are six times more likely to develop alcohol problems.

Fact 2: Even “Legal” Intoxicants Are Dangerous

Many teens wonder how alcohol could be dangerous if it’s legal. First, it’s only legal over the age of 21. (See Fact 1 for the dangers of teen drinking.) And even then, the law still recognizes the dangers — just two drinks can increase a person’s blood-alcohol content past the legal limit to drive because it impairs judgment and response time. But it’s not just the law you should be concerned with. Alcohol is a drug and misusing it can lead to lifelong health problems, interfering with your heart, liver, brain, and even immune system. And, because it is an intoxicant, it increases the incidence of many diseases, including cancer. To limit these dangers, abstaining from alcohol is the healthiest choice.

Fact 3: Debunking Alcohol Myths

You might have heard someone say that certain kinds of alcohol will trigger different behaviors. The truth is different types of alcohol don’t cause specific behaviors; it’s the alcohol content that matters. So while someone may claim that beer relaxes them and tequila makes them rowdy, what’s really happening is that the tequila gets them intoxicated faster and with fewer drinks. Liquor has a higher alcohol content than beer, so less liquor is needed to reach the same alcohol level as something like a beer. Beer typically contains 4-6 % alcohol, wine has 9-12 % alcohol, and liquors range from 40% to 50% and higher.

Fact 4: Everybody’s NOT Doing It

Sometimes it may seem like everyone is drinking, but the statistics tell a different story. In fact, in Florida 88% of teens are alcohol free.

Fact 5: Coffee Won’t Help You “Sober Up”

Coffee does not speed up sobriety — only time can do that. The liver takes about one hour to metabolize one standard drink. Standard drink sizes refer to 12 ounces for beer, 5 ounces for wine and 1.5 ounces for liquor.

Fact 6: Wine Isn’t a Health Food

While there are some antioxidants in some wines, health professionals agree the risks well outweigh any potential benefits. Not only that, we can get the same antioxidants from various plant food sources, including fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, tea and even dark chocolate.

Fact 7: All Drugs Are Dangerous

During adolescence, your brain is still under development. Using drugs and alcohol is always damaging to the body, but during teenage and adolescent years, it can be particularly harmful, disrupting the natural growth and progression, which can lead to lifelong health problems, ranging from heart and liver issues to mental health problems and addiction. This includes illicit street drugs and also legalized drugs like marijuana, which is legal medically in many places and recreationally in some states, as well as prescription drugs like painkillers and anti-anxiety medications.

Getting Help

If you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, reach out to a trusted guidance counselor, teacher, or doctor. You can also call 211, a free community service that can connect you with available resources and programs. This community crisis hotline provides suicide prevention, crisis intervention, information and assessment, and is always free and confidential.