POY Teen Handbook - English


Not All Teens Drink. Actually Most Don’t!

You probably know some teens who drink. Maybe you’ve even tried it yourself. The truth is not everyone is doing it. The latest research shows 2 out of 3 teens don’t drink! You’re not alone when you take a stand against underage drinking. There are millions around the country standing with you.

You have the power to protect yourself and your friends!


View and share this booklet with others at powerofyouth.com. Use social media to influence others. Follow @maddonline on Facebook and Twitter and share your views on underage drinking. Use #ProtectUrSelfie and #ProtectUrFriends. Participate in Red Ribbon Week ® or other alcohol-free school activities. Visit powerofyouth.com for fun ideas.




Teens join together and participate in MADD’s Power of You(th) campaigns: #ProtectUrSelfie and #ProtectUrFriends.

My parents and I have always had an understanding that drinking alcohol wasn’t for me. I watched family members, close friends, and elders I knew let alcohol tear their life, dreams, and aspirations apart, and I told my parents that was not going to be me! I knew I wanted to live healthy: mentally, physically and spiritually, so I was determined to live each day responsibly without alcohol.

I remembered a question my parents asked me: What’s your motive for drinking alcohol? And as I thought about it, I had no motive because I will face problems to the day I die and just drinking for a good time isn’t going to make my problems or issues disappear. So, I decided that alcohol wasn’t going to become a part of me, and my parents 100% enforced and supported my decision, inspiring me to find other ways to enjoy life and live it to the fullest. -Kenya, 19, Louisiana



Some of the choices you make today will affect you for the rest of your life. Having good information will help you make good choices.

How Alcohol Impacts the Body

It’s a fact: Anyone who has been drinking cannot accurately tell how drunk he or she is. Alcohol is a drug that depresses the whole body, and impairment begins with the very first drink. Alcohol begins to slow down judgment, coordination, and reaction time. As alcohol levels get higher, breathing and heart rate slow down—and can even stop.


TRUE OR FALSE? Does coffee or a cold shower help someone sober up?

False! Only time can make a person sober.

Teens Drink Differently Than Adults

Because of their age and developing body, teens dangerously get drunk twice as fast as adults and have more trouble knowing when to stop. The teen body is not prepared to protect itself from the effects of alcohol the way an adult body is.



Just the way your body is changing and maturing, your brain is developing, too.

Anatomy Lesson! Your prefrontal cortex—the part of your brain that controls reasoning and helps you think before you act—is growing rapidly. But your brain is not completely developed. That means it’s more easily damaged by alcohol. You’re not as good at decision making and problem solving as you will be when you’re older. It’s a biology, not maturity, issue.


QUIZ TIME! What abilities controlled by the brain can be hurt by alcohol?

A. Coordination B. Decision making C. Speech D. Memory E. All the above

E! All of the above.



Teen drinking is a bigger deal than you might think. The law says it’s illegal to drink under the age of 21 ; and it’s illegal for someone under 21 to drive after drinking any amount of alcohol. Imagine being arrested for underage drinking. Now think about the embarrassment and disappointment from your friends, family, and even yourself. Add that to a list of other consequences impacting your home and school life. Here are some examples:

Legal & Financial

Social & School

• Losing your license • Losing your after-school job • Public embarrassment (arrests are typically reported in the newspaper!) • Expensive legal fees • Causing your parents to lose time at work and money • Causing your parents’ car insurance rates to increase • Jail time

• Public embarrassment (this time posted on social media!) • Bad grades • Not being admitted to the college you want or losing a scholarship • Being kicked off a sports team or out of a school club

Did you know high school students who drink alcohol or use drugs are five times more likely than other students to drop out of school?


LET’S PLAY “WHAT IF?” How would you feel telling your parents about an arrest? How would your daily life change if you lost your driver’s license? What if your parents had to lose money to pay for your legal issues?

Kurt’s Story, 18, California Kurt never thought he would one day after drinking underage take the life of anyone, let alone, his best friend, but that is just what happened. “I thought it was a one-in-a-million chance, couldn’t happen,” Kurt Evans told a news station. “And, now I’m that one in a million. It happens that quick.” Kurt served his sentence. He now speaks for MADD and tells his story in hopes that his bad choices positively influence others.



Resisting Peer Pressure…

It’s real. In fact many teens say that one of their biggest challenges is resisting peer pressure. Do any of these statements sound familiar? “Come on, everyone’s drinking.” “If you won’t drink with us, then why are you hanging out with us?” “We drank together before, so what’s the problem now?” But teens also offer some great advice for making good choices. Check out these tips to say no to alcohol. Pick one that feels right and make it your own: Simple one-liners: “I’m cool,” or “No thanks.” Offering an alternative: “I’d rather have something else.” Making an excuse: “I have a test to study for tomorrow,” or “I’m super tired.” Giving a short explanation: “I really don’t like the taste.” Take a stand: “I don’t drink.”

“I always have a code word or fake text ready so my parents can help me get out of an uncomfortable situation. I can blame them and not look uncool in the process.” – Sarah, 17, New York



Together. Sometimes teens care more about protecting their friends than themselves. But you don’t have to choose. Help each other with these tips: Make a pact. There is

power in numbers! Make a pledge with your friends to not drink alcohol under 21 and to never ride with a drinking driver.

Have a plan. Determine how to handle uncomfortable or dangerous situations that involve alcohol before you go out, in case the night doesn’t turn out the way you thought. Pay attention. If you think your friend may have a problem with alcohol—for example, if he or she drinks regularly, drops out of usual activities, and/or drives under the influence—then talk to them, and talk to a trusted adult, to keep everyone safe. Call for help. If someone passes out from drinking and won’t wake up—call 911. Don’t let them “sleep it off,” because they may not wake up. Getting in trouble is better than the danger of alcohol poisoning. Thousands of students across the country make the #ProtectUrSelfie pledge each year.



Even one night of drinking can have life-changing consequences. It’s not something anybody wants to think about, much less experience. But the reality is more young people suffer injuries and die from alcohol-related incidents than from all other illegal drugs combined.

In fact two-thirds of underage drinking teen deaths do not involve car crashes. Here are some life changing consequences to consider:

Unwanted sex and pregnancy. Teens who drink are more likely to get into risky or dangerous sexual situations. Alcohol takes away the ability to make safe and healthy choices, or protect yourself from unsafe sex, sexual assault, date rape and unplanned pregnancies. Alcoholism. Teens who start drinking at age 15 or 16 are five times more likely to become alcohol dependent than adults who started drinking after age 21. Drowning, fires and falls. Alcohol impairment can result in serious injuries that can even lead to death. Alcohol poisoning. Binge drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning where someone passes out and never wakes up, or chokes on vomit.

You have the power to take a stand & protect yourself!


Alexis’ Story, 17, Texas Alexis was celebrating her 17th birthday with five friends at one of their homes, and the friend’s parents were out of town. As they all slept, a fire started in the home. Alexis’ mom was told that alcohol was a key factor as to why no one made it out alive.

Casey’s Story, 18, Wyoming Casey, was a senior, on the wrestling team, played football and sang in the choir. He and his friends bought some liquor from a store known for not checking IDs. They thought it would be fun to see how much one person could chug – that person was Casey. The next day, he was dead from alcohol poisioning.



One-third of all teen deaths involving alcohol are a result of underage drunk driving. Simple solution: If teens don’t drink, then they won’t drink and drive. Never Get in a Car with a Drinking Driver But what if my ride is someone who has been drinking? There is only one answer: don’t get in the car! Missing curfew or the inconvenience of finding another ride is so not worth the risk – even if you’ve been a passenger with a drinking driver and made it home ok before. That doesn’t mean you will be safe the next time. “But at least I’m not drinking and driving.” You may not be, but others are.

Jed’s Story, 17, Tennessee After a night of drinking, Jed’s friend wanted to drive home. Jed couldn’t convince his friend to not drive, so Jed hopped in the car to try and help. Instead the car crashed; Jed died but his friend survived.


Cole’s Story, 19, Tennessee Cole’s last words to his mom were, “I love you” before he went down the road to a friend’s house. An adult in the crowd, who had been drinking and taking drugs offered Cole, who was alcohol free, a ride in his truck. They never made it home.

Don’t be a story. Take action to stay safe: • Text a trusted adult a planned code word that means you need a safe ride home. • Have a rideshare app downloaded on your phone or the number of a taxi handy in case you can’t reach a friend or trusted adult. • Know that your parents or a trusted adult would rather pick you up than you get hurt or worse. • If necessary, the safest thing, and one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, is to call 911 to report a friend is driving drunk. It could save their life.

Do you know someone killed or injured due to drunk driving? How would that impact your choices?



Be sure you have identified a trusted adult that will support you and help you be safe. They are on your side and want to protect you. Ideally your trusted adult is a parent, but if that’s not the case consider these options:

•Aunt or Uncle •Grandparent •School Resource Officer or Nurse •Pastor, Minister or Counselor

Older siblings or friends may not be the best choice because they may not take your concerns seriously or support your decisions. Growing up can be tough sometimes. Adults are more equipped with experience than people only a few years older, to help you work through tough situations, like dealing with alcohol.

Adults Make Mistakes, Too

When teens feel they have their parents’ approval to drink alcohol, they tend to drink more—and more often—outside the home. Parents or other adults may offer you alcohol or offer to buy it for you. If that happens, you have power to take a stand and say, “no thanks.”



If you need help talking with your parents and/or a trusted adult about alcohol, here are some tips: • Be honest about your concerns. Ask for support to develop a safe way out of a dangerous situation. • Respect their opinions. You don’t have to agree with them, but it’s important to try and see things from their point of view. • Don’t let conversations about drinking get sidetracked by other issues or old arguments. If the discussion doesn’t go the way you hoped, try again. • Talking openly about alcohol can build trust and may be rewarded with gaining more privileges and independence. Now you know the real story about teen drinking and how to protect yourself and your friends. Write your own story. Your future is worth it!



Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving ® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving, drugged driving and underage drinking. MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, providing one supportive service every 3 minutes through local MADD victim advocates and 1-877-MADD- HELP. Learn more at madd.org or call 877-ASK-MADD.

National Presenting Program Sponsor

powerofyouth.com 877.ASK.MADD

Rev. 8/16

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