Alcohol & Youth

Alcohol is the drug most often used by students in grades 7 to 12. It acts as a depressant or downer. Children and youth are more likely to be harmed by drinking alcohol. 

Effects of alcohol on youth

Some of the effects alcohol has on youth include:

  • Dependency on alcohol later in life. Children and youth who drink alcohol at an early age are more likely to have trouble with alcohol later on.
  • Harm to normal brain development, memory loss or cognitive thinking or understanding. Alcohol is linked to depression, anxiety and mood disorders.
  • Poor decisions and risky behaviours such as driving a car after drinking alcohol, driving with someone who has been drinking alcohol, taking risks with sex or binge drinking (drinking five or more drinks at one time).
  • Violent and aggressive behaviour, which leads to social problems and/or sexual or physical violence.

Parenting resources

Find more information on preventing your teenager from using alcohol.
Learn how to talk to your child early about alcohol (PDF, 161 KB)

Parties and youth

Tips for hosting a party in your home when youth are in attendance include:

  • Make sure that party information is not posted on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites.
  • Set a guest list with your child.
  • Have a start and end time for the party.
  • Tell everyone who is invited and/or attends the party that no alcohol is allowed.
  • You should stay at the house during the party.
  • Tell people when they arrive which parts of the house are off limits.
  • Do not allow children and youth to come and go from the party.
  • Make sure that alcohol or medication in your home is not accessible to guests.
  • Have other activities like videos, games or karaoke at the party.

Here are some tips when your child attends a party at someone else’s home:

  • Know where your child is going; get the name, address and phone number of the party location or host.
  • Talk to your child about what to do if alcohol is available.
  • Ask your child to be part of a buddy system with a friend.
  • Make sure your child knows to call home for a ride under any circumstance, even if he or she drinks alcohol.
  • Set a time your child needs to come home.
  • Stay awake until your child gets home.
  • Talk about the rules if your child plans to sleep away from home.

Contact us

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