Problem of Underage Drinking and Substance Use
High rates of youth alcohol use, shifting state laws regarding marijuana, and the nation’s opioid crisis are prevalent health concerns that affect America’s parents and caregivers. Preventing underage alcohol and substance use is critical for the following reasons:
- Approximately 88,000 Americans die from alcohol-attributed causes each year, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
- An estimated 2.1 million people ages 12 or older had an opioid use disorder, and nearly 30 percent of those who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder.
Through the Sober Truth on Underage Drinking Act, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created the “Talk. They Hear You.”® campaign to address the problem of underage drinking and substance misuse.
The “Talk. They Hear You.”® campaign’s goal is to provide parents and caregivers with the resources they need to address the issue of alcohol and other drugs with children under the age of 21. The campaign has historically equipped parents with the knowledge and skills to increase actions that reduce and prevent underage drinking. Recently, it has expanded its messaging to include other substances such as marijuana and prescription drugs. The campaign now offers resources to help parents talk to children of all ages about alcohol and other drugs.