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Underage Alcohol Use Facts for Parents

  • Moms, dads, and grandparents are the most trusted sources of information for 9- to 13-year-olds.
  • The belief in the harm associated with alcohol use goes up between fourth grade and sixth grade. In the transition from sixth to ninth grade, students’ belief that alcohol use is harmful decreases.
  • Underage drinking can harm the mind and body of a growing teen in ways parents may not realize.
  • The vast majority of adults in America are concerned about underage alcohol use. They support measures to help reduce underage alcohol use, such as stricter controls on alcohol sales, advertising, and promotion.
  • Children of alcoholics (PDF 844KB) face several risks, as do youth who have fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). FASD may result when a woman who is pregnant consumes alcohol. The alcohol crosses the placenta into the fetal blood stream and may damage developing tissue and organs. Children with FASD are at very high risk for trouble in school, trouble with the law, alcohol and drug abuse, and mental health disorders.1


1 FASD Center for Excellence. (2006). Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders by the numbers. (DHHS Publication No. SMA06-3246). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.