Underage Drinking and Substance Use

The risks associated with underage drinking and substance use go well beyond the legal ramifications. Scientists have shown that the adolescent brain is developing and they know that exposure to alcohol and drugs during this critical time increases the likelihood of addiction.

While the primary function of the District Attorney's Office is to enforce the law, this office is equally engaged in keeping people out of the criminal justice system.  We believe that prevention not only reduces crime, but also contributes to a healthier and safer community.  We have assembled information, some of it developed by the Addiction Policy Forum, to help parents and young people better understand addiction and brain development in order to make more informed decisions about alcohol and substance use.

Table of Contents

Preventing Addiction

Over 20 million Americans suffer from substance use disorders and 90% of Americans with a substance use disorder began using substances before the age of 18. Addiction is a disease that, for the vast majority of patients, begins in childhood. This is why it’s critical to remind them early, and often, that they can prevent addiction.

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