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What’s New

Communities Talk What’s New articles share information to help event organizers plan, host, and evaluate events aimed at mobilizing a community around evidence-based prevention of underage drinking.

Prevention Resources for Underage Drinking and Marijuana Use; New Data About Alcohol Use


Preventing Underage Drinking and Marijuana Use

Communities Talk events primarily focus on underage drinking prevention. But the events also are a great opportunity to discuss other substance misuse and prevention-related topics that are important to your community, including marijuana use. States are legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use, raising concerns among parents and other caregivers about their children using this illicit drug. The Surgeon General recently released the advisory Marijuana Use and the Developing Brain. As noted in the advisory, “The human brain continues to develop from before birth into the mid-20s and is vulnerable to the effects of addictive substances.” Research shows that both alcohol and marijuana—two addictive substances—harm the developing brain.

Addressing the dangers associated with underage and young adult marijuana and alcohol use can increase the impact of your event and energize your community’s prevention work. SAMHSA’s Know the Risks of Marijuana webpage and SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” campaign website have facts and materials for you to use when planning or hosting your Communities Talk event.

Back-to-School Season: An Opportunity to Help Parents and Caregivers Prevent Underage Drinking and Drug Use

A new school year often brings a fresh start for children and their families. It’s also a time to revisit conversations with children about alcohol and other drugs. Resources from SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” national media campaign helps parents, caregivers, and other role models have conversations about alcohol and other drugs with children. Read SAMSHA’s blog by Johnnetta Davis-Joyce, M.A., Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, for details about using the campaign in your prevention initiatives this school year.

Underage and Young Adult Drinking Facts at Your Fingertips

New data shows the prevalence of alcohol use among girls and young women is now surpassing that of boys and young men. In addition, adolescent girls also are more likely to believe their peers are using alcohol. It’s a troubling trend that shows there is still plenty of prevention work to be done. SAMHSA has the resources to help you get started.

Community leaders, parents, and other concerned citizens become more invested in prevention when they learn how many adolescents and young adults begin using alcohol each year. You can use data from SAMHSA’s 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) to educate your community about underage drinking and get them engaged in prevention strategies.

Below are specific NSDUH statistics you can use when planning, promoting, and hosting your Communities Talk event.

Who used alcohol in the past month?

  • 19.5 percent of underage females
  • 18.2 percent of underage males

Who thought their peers were using alcohol?

  • 36.4 percent of 12- to 17-year-old girls
  • 23.7 percent of 12- to 17-year-old boys

Who used marijuana within 2 hours of using alcohol?

  • 15.9 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds
  • 16.6 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds

Who began using alcohol last year?

  • 2.4 million 12- to 17-year-olds
  • 2.4 million 18- to 25-year-olds

How did 12- to 20-year-olds obtain alcohol in 2018?

  • 11 percent got it from parents or guardians
  • 10 percent got it from another family member over age 21
  • 7 percent took it from their own house
  • 1 percent took it from someone else’s house