Alcohol

Learn the facts about alcohol and connect with help and support to keep your child safe.

What are some slang terms for alcohol?
Booze, Brew, Hooch, Juice, Sauce

What is it?
Alcohol is a depressant and contains ethyl alcohol or ethanol. Ethanol is an intoxicating ingredient in beer, wine and liquor, and produced by the fermentation of yeast, sugars and starches.

What does it look like?
Alcohol is usually a liquid. Its color and packaging vary widely, and types include beer, wine and liquor.

How is it used?
Alcohol is usually drunk. A single drink is roughly defined as 12 oz of beer (~5% alcohol), 5 oz of wine (~12% alcohol) or 1.5 oz of liquor (~40% alcohol).

What do young people hear about it?
Alcohol helps you unwind and have more fun.

What are the risks?
Alcohol lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment and coordination. It can also increase the incidence of aggressive or violent acts. Consuming large enough quantities in a short period of time – or binge drinking, which is defined as 4-5 drinks in two hours or less – can cause alcohol poisoning and even death, often by choking on vomit, which leads to asphyxiation (a lack of oxygen that causes suffocation).

Prolonged, heavy use of alcohol can lead to addiction (alcoholism), liver and heart disease, and other health consequences such as a weakened immune system and increased risk of developing certain cancers.

What are signs of use?

  • Empty bottles, shot glasses, bottle openers
  • Water or soda bottles (or other containers) used to conceal liquor
  • Smell of alcohol on the breath
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hangovers

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Next Steps

How to Address Underage Drinking

Alcohol is the most used substance among teens and young adults, posing substantial health and safety risks. Learn what to say about it.

Look for Warning Signs

Do you think your child may be using drugs? If so, have you noticed any of these changes or warning signs?

Prepare to Take Action

Is your child using drugs? Use these tips to prepare for the conversation ahead, and lay the foundation for more positive outcomes.

Get One-on-One Help

Trained counselors are available to listen, answer questions and help you create a plan to begin addressing your child's substance use.