Nationally, alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, youth who drink alcohol are more likely to experience poor grades, social and legal problems, disruption in growth and development, abuse of other drugs, memory problems and more. Youth who start drinking before age 15 years are six times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age. Locally, according to Fairfax County Youth Survey 2021 data, about 12.7 percent of eighth grade students say they have tried alcohol; by grade 12, that number jumps to 37.4 percent. Small, ongoing conversations can do a lot to prevent underage drinking.
Research shows that parents are the number one reason young people decide not to drink. The sooner parents begin effectively communicating with their children about drinking, the better the chance we as a community have to reduce the exponential jump in the percentage of youth who are already alcohol users by the time they are freshmen in high school.
"Talk. They hear you." is presented by the CSB's Wellness, Health Promotion & Prevention team for parents and caregivers of children, teens and young adults, to help you start and continue having conversations about underage drinking and substance use prevention throughout a child’s development.
Issues covered in these presentations include:
- How to tell if your child is drinking alcohol.
- Consequences of underage drinking.
- What you can do to prevent your child from drinking.
- Why small conversations make a big impression.
- Why you should talk with your child about alcohol.
- Why your child might start drinking.
To request a presentation for your group, contact the Wellness, Health Promotion and Prevention team at CSBPrevention@fairfaxcounty.gov. We strive to accommodate all requests within the limitations of our staff availability. Please try to make your request at least 3 weeks in advance of when you'd like to hold the event.
Parents can also download the interactive "Talk. They hear you." mobile app involving simulations and avatars to help you practice bringing up the topic of alcohol, learn the right questions to ask, and explore ideas on how to keep the conversation going. The app is free and easy to use.