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Navajo Nation Social Services for Native American Teenagers - Diné Youth Network

Underage Drinking

Did you know that among American Indian and Alaska Native populations, there are especially serious issues related to alcohol use and heavy drinking?

When you drink alcohol at an early age, you are more likely to have lifetime alcohol problems.

The Downside of Underage Drinking

A young person’s body cannot cope with alcohol the same way an adult’s body can. While one or two drinks of alcohol may seem harmless, underage drinking can have serious consequences for youth. Alcohol leads to other side effects like:

  • Loss of motor control or coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Blackouts
  • Throwing up

Alcohol alters your ability to make the right decisions for your well-being. For example, if you’ve been drinking you may not be able to make the right decisions when it comes to:

  • Engage in risky unprotected sexual behavior.
  • Getting behind a wheel, even though you’ve been drinking.
  • Unintentionally hurt yourself while doing an activity.
  • Become aggressive or violent.

Alcohol can have a negative effect on your brain.Drinking at a young age can negatively impact your ability to process or learn information.

Consequence of Underage Drinking

  • Death from alcohol poisoning.
  • Unintentional injuries, such as car crashes, falls, burns, and drowning.
  • Suicide and violence, such as fighting and sexual assault.
  • Changes in brain development.
  • School performance problems, such as higher absenteeism and poor or failing grades.
  • Alcohol dependence later in life.
  • Other risk behaviors such as smoking, drug misuse, and risky sexual behaviors.

Never mix alcohol with prescription drugs, marijuana, and other drugs.