Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention

The teen years are a time of growth, exploration, and risk taking. Taking risks provides young people the opportunity to test their skills and discover who they are. But, some risks, such as smoking and using drugs, can have harmful and long-lasting effects on a teen’s health and well-being.

Substance use may begin as something students view as fun or a way to push boundaries at school but can quickly turn into a means of coping, stress reduction or numbing of difficult emotions.
Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health:

  • In 2020, 50.0% of people aged 12 or older (or 138.5 million people) used alcohol in the past month (i.e., current alcohol users)
  • About 2.3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in 2019 drank alcohol in the past month, and 1.2 million of these adolescents binge drank in that period (2019 NSDUH)
  • Approximately 14.5 million people age 12 or older had an alcohol use disorder (2019 NSDUH)
  • Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 3.4% (or 9.5 million people) misused opioids in the past year (2020 NSDUH)
  • 2019 NSDUH data indicates that 48.2 million Americans aged 12 or older, 17.5 percent of the population, used marijuana in the past year

  • In 2019, NSDUH data show an estimated 5.5 million people aged 12 or older were past users of cocaine, including about 778,000 users of crack.


no tobacco
More information on tobacco prevention.

Signs Your Student May Be Using Substances

Signs your student may be using substances:

  • Their grades have dropped.
  • They have a change in friends.
  • They are more secretive.
  • They are talking to parents and family members less.
  • They don’t allow you in their room.
Ways to Support Your Student

Here are some things you can do right now to help your student:

  • Set aside time to talk and listen to your student.
  • Talk to your student’s counselor.
  • Do your research – read articles, talk to other parents, get to know what terms are used and what substances are available now for kids.
  • Get to know your child’s friends and their friend’s families.
  • Pay attention and trust your intuition. If things seem off, they probably are.
  • Set boundaries.
  • Know where your child is before and after school.
  • Don’t be afraid to look into your child’s online presence (tiktok, snapchat, etc.), their phone or through their room if you are worried.