Did you know that the human brain continues to develop up to the age of 25? That means that, just like their bodies, teens’ brains are still growing, and using alcohol during these formative years can damage developing brains, specifically the areas in charge of memory, decision making, and impulse control. Using alcohol can also make it more difficult for teens to have successful school, social, and family lives and increases the likelihood of alcohol and other drug addiction later in life. In addition, studies show that the brains of 15 year-olds who abused alcohol were much less active than those of 15 year-old non-drinkers.
Waiting until the age of 21 to begin using alcohol can help reduce these risks. Talking to your children about your rules and expectations that they will not use alcohol or other drugs is an important step you can take to keep them safer. Encourage your children to visit our Be the Future U Youtube channel to learn ways to decline using alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
To learn more about how to talk to your children and teens and set clear and helpful rules about alcohol and other drugs please visit www.mass.gov/maclearinghouse or call 1-800-952-6637 (TTY: 1-617-536-5872) to download or order free parent resources, some booklets are available in multiple languages. To learn about activities for youth in your area visit www.mass211help.org or call 2-1-1 (TTY: 508-370-4890).
If you have concerns about loved ones’ alcohol or drug use, visit www.helpline-online.com or call 1-800-327-5050 (TTY: 1-888-448-8321) 7 days a week. You can ask questions in confidence, or get information on prevention or counseling programs.