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Educators and Community Members

Schools and Teachers

“Underage drinking is everyone’s problem and the solution is everybody’s responsibility”

The Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking

Underage Alcohol Use

Alcohol is the most widely used substance of abuse among America’s youth. A higher percentage of young people use alcohol than use tobacco or illicit drugs.

Educators have a responsibility to reduce risk factors associated with underage alcohol use and an obligation to students to protect them from adverse consequences of their own or others’ alcohol use. Educators can help change attitudes about teen drinking, create an environment that can protect youth from underage drinking, and decrease the risk of adolescent alcohol use and the associated negative consequences.

Schools and teachers can:

  • Help create an environment that can protect youth from underage drinking.
  • Encourage student involvement in school, a factor in reducing underage alcohol use.
  • Create an environment that helps students explore their talents and follow their passions, whether academic, musical, sports, or social or community causes.
  • Provide students opportunities for validation and belonging.
  • Increase positive outcomes for adolescents by being a mentor, a valued teacher, or other caring adult.
  • Provide information to parents on the consequences of underage alcohol use, school policies and practices on alcohol use, and local sources for more information.
  • Recognize that significant social transitions (such as graduating to middle or high school or getting a driver’s license) are accompanied by increasing responsibility, freedom, social pressure, and/or more demanding academic requirements, all of which may increase the likelihood of alcohol use. At such times, teachers and staff can be particularly alert and supportive. Consider making a special effort to connect students with an adult who can serve as a mentor and confidant.
  • Recognize that children who mature earlier or later than the majority of their peers may be at increased risk.
  • Provide and promote multiple venues where adolescents can get together with their friends.

For more information, contact CASAC at or 664-3608.

See Also

Community Building

The United States Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Strategic Prevention Framework is built on a community-based risk and protective factors approach to prevention and a series of guiding principles that can be utilized at the federal, State/tribal and community levels. The idea behind SPF is to use the findings from public health research along with evidence-based prevention programs to build capacity within a community. This in turn will promote resilience and decrease risk factors in individuals, families, and the community.

SPF uses a five-step process known to promote youth development, reduce risk-taking behaviors, build assets and resilience, and prevent problem behaviors across the life span.

  1. The SPF requires communities to systematically:
  2. Assess their prevention needs based on epidemiological data,
  3. Build their prevention capacity,
  4. Develop a strategic plan,
  5. Implement effective community prevention programs, policies and practices, and
  6. Evaluate their efforts for outcomes.

SAMHSA’s Prevention Platform is a Web-based application to help communities undertake each of the five steps outlined in the SPF process. This technology platform includes user paths that are customized to individual responses. It also has an extensive database of online training and curricula.

See Also