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Most young people ages 12 to 20 do not drink. However, in 2012, about 9.3 million young people in this age group, or one out of four, had used alcohol.1 Alcohol use can interfere with their health, academic, and workplace performance and their relationships with friends and family.2

Talk with young people early and often about the dangers of underage drinking. With your help, we can make sure that young people understand that they do not need to drink to fit in, have fun, or deal with the pressures of growing up. Use the resources on this site to help young people be too smart to start.

1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2013). Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of national findings, NSDUH Series H-46, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4795. Rockville, MD: Author.

2 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2012). Report to Congress on the prevention and reduction of Underage drinking.


In the words of The Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking, “Underage alcohol use is everybody’s problem—and its solution is everybody’s responsibility.” Educators have a responsibility to reduce risk factors associated with underage alcohol use and an obligation to students to protect them from adverse consequences of their own or others’ alcohol use.

Educators can help change attitudes about teen drinking, create an environment that can protect youth from underage drinking, and decrease the risk of adolescent alcohol use and the associated negative consequences.


Use our animated scenarios to spark a classroom conversation about alcohol use.

More “Making Smart Choices” (en español)