Underage Drinking Is Focus of Public Information Initiative

Young drinkers risk putting themselves on the road to addiction – 40% of those who drink before age 15 become alcoholics while only 7% of those who begin drinking at age 21 develop alcohol problems. That is one of the statistics that prompted the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Connecticut (WSWC) to launched www.talktomenow.org, a website developed to discourage underage drinking.  The new website is part of the organization’s Community Relations Program, developed to advance the prevention and reduction of underage consumption of alcohol and the misuse of alcohol in Connecticut through community education.

As part of the initiative, WSWC noted that:

  • Brains aren’t finished developing until youth are in their mid-20’s, so young people may not have the judgment or impulse control to make good decisions all the time, especially regarding alcohol use.  Youth who drink are more likely than adults to consume large quantities of alcohol in a sitting.  In fact, it’s not uncommon for young people to drink until blacking out.
  • Young minds have an incredible potential to learn, but heavy drinking during the teen years, even just once a month, can permanently damage learning, memory, decision-making and reasoning abilities and can short-circuit the brain “wiring” needed to become a responsible adult.
  • A new survey shows that a college student’s GPA correlates directly to the amount of time they spend buzzed—and that students in general are studying less than ever.
  • Schools (or parents) that want to predict how certain students will perform academically would do well to look at their drinking habits, according to new research.

The site also includes a list of "mythbusters," including this fact: Only one-third of underage drinking deaths involve auto crashes.  The remaining two-thirds involve alcohol poisoning, homicides, suicides, and unintentional injuries such as burns, drowning, and falls.

WSWC also administers a successful annual video contest for college students on the subject of underage drinking, with winning public service videos being aired on local television stations.