Underage Drinking: Myths vs. Facts

Here are some common myths and facts about alcohol use from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

From Wisconsin Department of Health Services (USA, 2018).

MYTH FACT
You can drink alcohol and you won’t get into trouble. If you get caught drinking, you might have to pay a fine, do community service, take alcohol awareness classes, or even spend time in jail.
There’s no reason to wait until you’re 21 to drink. When you’re young, drinking alcohol can make learning new things more difficult. Also, people who begin drinking before they turn 21 are more likely to develop a drinking problem at some point in their lives than those who begin drinking at age 21 or older.
Drinking alcohol will make people like you. There’s nothing likable about stumbling around, passing out, or puking on yourself. Drinking alcohol can also make your breath smell bad and cause you to gain weight.
Drinking is a good way to loosen up at parties. Drinking can make you act foolish, say things you shouldn’t say, and do things you wouldn’t normally do. In fact, drinking can increase the likelihood of fights and sexual assaults.
Alcohol isn’t as harmful as other drugs. Your brain doesn’t stop growing until about age 25, and drinking can affect how it develops. Plus, alcohol increases your risk for many diseases, such as cancer. It can also cause you to have accidents and get injured, sending you to the emergency room.
Beer and wine are safer than liquor. Alcohol is alcohol. A 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, and a shot of liquor (1.5 ounces) all have the same amount of alcohol. Alcohol is alcohol. A 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, and a shot of liquor (1.5 ounces) all have the same amount of alcohol.
You can sober up quickly by taking a cold shower or drinking coffee. There’s no magic cure to help you sober up. On average, it takes two or three hours for a single drink to make it through your body. And there’s nothing you can do to make that happen quicker.

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