Maybe you’re wondering, “what’s so bad about having a few drinks?” Visit the Virtual Bar to find out the effect that just a few drinks will have on your Blood Alcohol Content, or BAC, which tells you how much your body is affected by alcohol.

In New Jersey, if you are under the age of 21, it is illegal to drive after drinking ANY amount of alcohol. For those over 21, the legal BAC limit is .08.

Besides drinking and driving, there are other reasons why alcohol is especially dangerous for teens. New research shows that the adolescent brain matures up through age 25! Damage during this time can be long-term and irreversible. Some areas of the brain that are affected by alcohol use include:

  • Prefrontal cortex – center for judgment, reasoning, impulse control, retaining information, and learning
  • Hippocampus – center for memory and learning

These areas are not yet fully formed by the teenage years and drinking alcohol during this time can cause permanent damage to the brain.

Want some proof?

Take a look at some visual evidence. Below are the MRI’s of two 15 year old males, one a heavy drinking and the other a non-drinker. Both teens were given identical thinking tests, designed to stimulate brain activity, which can be seen in red. Can you guess who the heavy drinker is?

The image on the left shows a clear decrease in brain activity, and this is the heavy drinker. Comparing these images clearly shows that drinking has a profound effect on brain activity, and this could lead to lower grades, failing classes, poor judgment, and lack of interest in regular activities. Which side would you rather be on?