Survey shows alcohol is top substance that youth are likely to use – and finds it is a problem for them

Free information available for download at Find out why alcohol is particularly dangerous for youth.

Log on to for information on various drugs, including alcohol. One youth quoted on the website said, “I was only 16 but my liver was badly damaged and I was close to killing myself from everything I was drinking.” —Samantha

Youth can sign a pledge to remain drug-free. This gives youth the opportunity to make up their own minds and decide to stay away from drugs and alcohol.

Free Truth About Drugs booklet available to parents, teachers and community leaders to educate youth on why drinking can be more harmful to them than to adults.

A young person’s body cannot cope with alcohol the same way an adult’s can. Drinking is more harmful to teens than to adults because their brains are still developing throughout adolescence.”

— Excerpt from alcohol booklet

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES, March 25, 2021 / — The oldest recorded drug is also our most prevalent and can be dangerous. The pandemic period has made it even more of a threat. As the coronavirus began to spread in the spring of 2020 and alcohol sales began to spike, the World Health Organization warned that alcohol use could potentially exacerbate health issues and risk-taking behaviors.

Alcohol is an easy fix for people to use when their isolation, job loss or stresses make them depressed and anxious. Many people are now drinking earlier in the day and more than they ever have before.

“The magnitude of these increases is striking,” said Michael Pollard, lead author of a study on alcohol abuse during the pandemic and a sociologist at RAND Corporation. “People’s depression increases, anxiety increases, [and] alcohol use is often a way to cope with these feelings. Depression and anxiety are also the outcome of drinking; it’s this feedback loop where it just exacerbates the problem that it’s trying to address.”

The CDC reported in January of 2021 that, “Excessive alcohol use is responsible for more than 95,000 deaths in the United States each year, or 261 deaths per day. These deaths shorten the lives of those who die by an average of almost 29 years, for a total of 2.8 million years of potential life lost.” And some of the most regrettable lives lost in these statistics, are those of teenagers and children killed by drunk driving.

“Today, an estimated 15 million Americans suffer from alcoholism and 40% of all car accident deaths in the US involve alcohol,” according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The National Institute also reported on research showing that young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who began drinking at age 21.

In surveys conducted by the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, alcohol came up at the top of the list of substances youth said that they are the most likely to use and that they consider as a problem. Because it takes so many young lives (more than all other drugs combined), it is the substance that parents are most worried about.

Drug-Free World has also been responding to this problem by doing virtual presentations in the community to youth, adults and seniors in collaboration with its citywide partners and allied groups active in the community.

In one recent presentation on alcohol, marijuana and opioids organized by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, East River Family Strengthening Collaborative and the Department of Parks and Recreations, young people learned that chronic alcohol abuse can result in brain shrinkage and that heavy alcohol use is damaging to the developing brain, a brain that many forget develops all the way into young adulthood.

Thalia Ghiglia, presenter, and faith liaison for the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, feels that education is vital to equip young people for the challenges they face in life. “Many of us don’t tend to think of alcohol as a drug, but it’s important for young people to understand that it, like any other drug, can have serious side effects and that once a person gets used to experiencing ‘a high,’ be it with heroin or alcohol, they can start to chase that, rather than the highs of real life, such as accomplishing one’s goals or helping another. It is important to understand that drugs lead you away from life and can, in the end, take it all away,” said Ms. Ghiglia. “We’re trying to give kids the informational tools to be able to make the best life choices for themselves that will lead them to a greater chance of success and happiness.”

“We are really grateful to all of those agencies, groups, organizations and individuals who are out there working directly with and in the community to educate people, help them meet their needs and help us have a better community. We’re incredibly happy to support that,” Ms. Ghiglia concluded.

The Foundation for a Drug-Free World also offers The Truth About Drugs Education Package, which contains practical tools to educate young people about substance abuse. The educator’s package is an effective weapon in teaching youth about drugs. The materials speak to young people in a way that nothing has done before. Youth are encouraged to sign the Pledge to be drug-free.

The Truth About Drugs materials are in use by tens of thousands of schools and over 800 law enforcement agencies across the globe.

The Foundation for a Drug-Free World is a nonprofit public benefit corporation that empowers youth and adults with factual information about drugs so they can make informed decisions and live drug free.

Thalia Ghiglia
Drug-Free World
+1 202-667-6404
email us here

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