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Unintended Effects of Underage Drinking

Did you know your brain is still developing…and will continue to develop until you are in your mid-twenties? Alcohol has a dangerous and long-lasting impact on your developing brain.

Each part of the brain has a unique function, and alcohol impacts the brain’s ability to do its job properly. With the brain still developing in those under 21, the effect that alcohol has is different than the impact alcohol has on those with fully developed brains. The part of our brain that controls our coordination and balance is the cerebellum. Alcohol hinders the cerebellum’s ability to react quickly. That is part of what makes driving impaired so unsafe.

Impaired coordination and a delayed reaction time are just two of the many reasons underage drinking is dangerous. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), some of the hazardous consequences of underage drinking include impaired judgment, problems with school and friends, possible learning problems, and more.

Peer pressure is a leading cause of underage drinking. The 2019 Youth Risk Survey found that in the previous 30 days, 29% of high school students said they had consumed alcohol. That means that 71% of the teens surveyed had not had alcohol in the 30 days before the survey. It may seem like everyone at school is drinking on the weekend, but that isn’t the case. There are countless ways that you can have fun with friends that don’t include drinking.

This month SADD has partnered with NIAAA for a video challenge. This challenge is open for all SADD students to create a short, creative video on the topic of underage drinking. Submit your entry by June 30, 2023, for a chance to win big! Check out for more information and to submit your entry!

Interested in more conversations like this one? Consider joining SADD for the 2023 Summer Conference Series, a virtual event focused on celebrating youth health and safety all summer long. Learn more and register for free below!


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