Education and Prevention:

Underage Drinking

Family Influence on Underage Drinking

Research studies indicate that children are less likely to drink when parents are involved with their lives. Children say that parental disapproval of underage drinking is the key reason they have chosen not to drink.



What Parents Can Do
to Prevent Underage Drinking

Talk to your children about why it is important for them not to drink.

Set clear, specific rules about what you expect.

Be consistent when enforcing rules and use appropriate consequences.

Be a positive role model and do not participate in unhealthy practices regarding alcohol.

Know what your kids are doing and who they're with.

Recognize good behavior.

Pledge to allow NO underage drinking on your property by joining the Family Partnership Alliance.


Family Partnership Alliance

What a Community Can Do
to Prevent Underage Drinking

Develop comprehensive community plans to address underage drinking that include law enforcement, government leaders, business leaders, grass-roots groups, schools and social service agencies.

Support local efforts by police to enforce underage drinking laws.

Incorporate research-based alcohol prevention information into school curricula.

Regulate alcohol advertising and limit alcohol sponsorship of community events.


"Healthy Youth Survey" Results


According to the 2010 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey in Thurston County:

About 15% of 8th-graders reported having a drink in the past 30 days.

About 28% of 10th-graders reported having a drink in the past 30 days.

Almost 40% of 12th-graders reported having a drink in the past 30 days.

Also, about 40% of 12th-graders say their parents have never talked to them about why they should not drink alcohol.

About 35% of students who reported drinking in the past month say they got their alcohol from home, either with or without permission (average of grades 8, 10 and 12).


The good news is that most teens do not drink. However, far too many still do, and they are putting themselves, their future and others at risk.


News Related to Underage Drinking



Risks of Underage Drinking

Alcohol use is a leading risk factor is the three leading causes of death among youth: unintentional injuries, suicides and homicides.

In Washington, alcohol is involved in more than one-third of adolescent driver fatalities.

Teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are 4 times more likely to develop problems with alcohol.

Teens react differently than adults to the initial effects of alcohol.

The abuse of alcohol by teens may have long term effects on the development of adolescent brains.

Alcohol use among youth is strongly correlated with teen violence, risky sexual activity, school failure and illegal drug use.



What TOGETHER! does


Sticker Shock

Sticker Shock stickerThe Sticker Shock campaign is designed to reach adults to warn them against purchasing alcohol for minors. Stickers designed by youth warning about penalties for furnishing alcohol to minors are placed on all multi–packs of alcoholic products that might appeal to underage drinkers.


The project represents a partnership between youth, retailers, concerned parents and community members, prevention professionals, and law enforcement agencies, with a goal of educating potential furnishers, raising public awareness about underage drinking, and strengthening the deterrent effect of the law against providing alcohol to minors.


The current sticker (above) was designed in 2009 by local high schooler Jackie De Leon and it was used in 2 campaigns. A contest will be held for a new design in May 2011. Check back here for details during that time.


Social Norms

The Social Norms poster campaign addresses many substance use issues in local high schools. See the School Programs page for more details.


Family Partnership Alliance

This network connects parents of teens who have pledged to allow no underage drinking on their property. It allows parents to assure the safety of their child in another house. See the Family Partnership Alliance page for more details or to join. Membership is free.


Other Resources and Projects

Our Resource Library contains books and other media that address underage drinking issues.

Request a town hall meeting or presentation on underage drinking from the TOGETHER! Speakers Bureau.

Many of our educational programs geared toward kids or youth, such as Project ALERT and Too Good for Drugs, teach them why underage drinking is harmful and how to make better choices. They are also taught strong and comfortable ways to say no.

Youth Program Assistant Heidi DuPrey testifies at the Liquor Control BoardYouth volunteers have testified at the Washington State Liquor Control Board to educate the Board on issues that affect youth, such as limiting alcohol advertising and the ban on alcoholic energy drinks.



RUaD produced this video with prevention experts from around the state, including TOGETHER! former executive director Mary Segawa, giving advice to parents:



Here's a video featuring two youth sharing their stories about their past drug and alcohol use. The youth panel was part of the NativeSTAND youth conference in Chehalis, WA, in August 2009.





Start talking before they start drinking! Here are a couple of very helpful links:

 Start Talking logo is a comprehensive portal of federal resources for information on underage drinking.



Workshops/ Presentations


TOGETHER! provides presentations and workshops on preventing and reducing underage drinking.


To schedule a presentation or workshop, please call (360) 493-2230 ext 20 or contact us via email.




Check out Parents Are Heroes, a monthly newsletter created in partnership with ALERT Labs in Michigan.


More information


Visit these sites for more in-depth information.



Washington State Department of Health Education Resource Exchange

Washington State Liquor Control Board Education Services

Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking



Federal resources - preventing underage drinking

National Commission Against Drunk Driving


Anti-Drug Media Campaign for teens

National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism / Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

NIAAA youth alcohol abuse prevention website for teens

US Department of Health and Human Services National Clearinghouse on Alcohol and Drug Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Too Smart to Start, by U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration


NetWellness Consumer Health Information on addiction and substance abuse, focused on families and youth.