photo of African American mom and son

At the Department of Public Health we’re committed to reducing alcohol use among young people. One reason why it’s so important to keep our young people from drinking is because their brains are still developing.

For instance, we know that youth who start drinking before age 21 are more likely to become addicted to alcohol because of the natural stages of brain development in adolescence.

What’s more, young people have less insight into their mistakes and misjudge the future — which can lead to dangerous situations and unsafe behavior when alcohol enters the picture.

By preventing underage drinking, we can also help prevent alcohol dependency later in life. Below are some tips you can use to help your teen choose not to use alcohol.

  • Discuss Values — Simply asking your child, “What is important to you?” is a great way to talk about both of your values. Explain that drinking makes achieving goals difficult — more difficult than it would be to avoid drinking.
  • Participate in an Alcohol Free Weekend — Show that adults can have a good time without drinking by taking the NCADD’s annual challenge to abstain from alcohol for 72 hours. Your positive example sends youth a clear message.
  • Take a Stand — Combating teen drinking is tough, but maintaining a strong stance against underage alcohol use is a powerful way to support your teen.

If you’d like to learn some successful techniques other parents have used, click over to the Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse page at

If you are concerned about a loved one’s alcohol use or are looking for support for your own or a loved one’s recovery visit or call 1-800-327-5050 (7 days; multi-lingual); TTY: 1-888-448-8621 for peer support services, confidential information, and referrals to counseling.

This information is provided by the Department of Public Health .