"A child who reaches age 21 without smoking, abusing alcohol or using drugs, is virtually certain never to do so."-Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Chairman and President of the National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse at Columbia University
Underage drinking is a phenomenon that affects every town across America, including Basking Ridge. According to the 2009 American Drug and Alcohol Survey, the average age that Bernards Township students take their first drink is 14.6 years. Furthermore, by the time students are in 10th grade, almost 40% have used alcohol within the past month.
Alcohol dependence is directly correlated to the age of first use, and 45% of people who begin drinking by age 14 will become alcoholics or experience alcohol related problems at some point in their life. By delaying the age of first use, we can reduce the risk that our children will suffer the negative consequences of drinking, and the better the rest of their lives will be.
Because of these startling facts, the Municipal Alliance has created a campaign called “It’s 21 for a Reason,” designed to inform and educate adults and youth alike about the dangers of underage drinking from a new perspective. By looking at common beliefs about underage drinking, as well as recent research on the brain and body, the Alliance confidently stands by the notion that the more we delay a teen’s first drink, the better the rest of their lives will be.
Why the Bernards Township Municipal Alliance Against Substance Abuse is developing a campaign called “It’s 21 for a Reason”
Our mission is focused on education and prevention and reaching teenagers is imperative to our mission. By delaying the age that a child under 21 takes their first drink, we can reduce the chances that a person will suffer from alcohol problems and the better the rest of their lives will be.
Here are a few facts that support our campaign:
• 45% of people who begin drinking by age 14 develop alcohol dependence at some point in their lives, compared to 10% of those who begin drinking at 21*
• Young people who start drinking by age 15 are five times more likely to experience alcohol-related problems in their lives compared to those who begin at 21*
• Half of our 10th graders who have started drinking will become addicted or dependent on alcohol in their lives.
*The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism’s (NIAAA) National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey 2006.
Click here to view “It’s 21 for a Reason” PowerPoint
Click here to watch our Social Host video shown at Neighborhood Coffees, created by RHS student Derek Vogt.