Underage Alcohol / Youth Marijuana Use

NOT everyone is doing it!
72% of Wyoming high school students have
NOT had alcohol in the past 30 days, and 86% have NOT used marijuana in the past 30 days.

Alcohol Use Among Youth

Alcohol continues to be the most commonly reported substance used among all grade levels. According to the 2020 Wyoming Prevention Needs Assessment, 64% of Wyoming high school seniors have tried alcohol on at least one occasion, and 30% report drinking on a regular basis (at least once or twice a month).

Consequences of Underage Drinking

Underage drinking poses a range or risks and negative consequences, including a range of social, emotional, behavioral and health problems. According to the Centers for Disease Control, youth who drink alcohol are more likely to experience:
• School problems, such as higher absence and poor or failing grades.
• Social problems, such as fighting and lack of participation in youth activities.
• Legal problems, such as arrest for driving or physically hurting someone while drunk.
• Physical problems, such as hangovers or illnesses.
• Unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity.
• Disruption of normal growth and sexual development.
• Physical and sexual assault.
• Higher risk for suicide and homicide.
• Alcohol-related car crashes and other unintentional injuries, such as burns, falls, and drowning.
• Memory problems.
• Misuse of other drugs.
• Changes in brain development that may have life-long effects.
• Death from alcohol poisoning.

Youth Marijuana Use

40% of Wyoming seniors reported using marijuana at least once in their life. Research shows that marijuana use can have permanent effects on the developing brain when use begins in adolescence, especially with regular or heavy use.

Negative Effects of Youth Marijuana Use Include:
  • Difficulty thinking and problem solving
  • Problems with memory and learning
  • Impaired coordination
  • Difficulty maintaining attention
  • Decline in school performance
  • Increased risk of mental health issues
  • Impaired driving
  • Potential for addiction

Community Prevention Strategies:

Parents Who Host Lose the Most

Our community must send a unified message that teen alcohol consumption is unacceptable.

30% of Hot Springs County students reported that they got their last drink of alcohol from either their parent(s), or their friend’s parent(s). 15% got it from another adult.

The Parents Who Host Lose the Most Campaign spreads the message that underage drinking is illegal, unsafe, and unhealthy. Allowing teens to consume alcohol sends a mixed message and only adds to their confusion about the acceptability of drinking. It also sends the message to teens that they do not have to obey the law. Our youth deserve to live and grow to adulthood in an environment where alcohol is not misused.

Please follow these safety tips and let’s be unified in our message against underage alcohol use. We must work together to keep our kids safe, healthy and alcohol and drug free!

Tips for Parents:
• Talk to your kids about the dangers of drinking. The sooner you talk to your children about alcohol and other drugs, the greater chance you have of influencing their decisions about drinking and substance use.
• Serve as a positive role model.
• Be present and involved if your teen has a party.
• Get to know your children’s friends and their parents.
• Ask other parents about their policy on alcohol, drugs and tobacco use and send clear messages about your views of keeping youth safe.
• Create and encourage alcohol-free opportunities and activities in your home so teens feel welcome.
• Make sure alcohol is not brought into your home or property by your teen’s friends.
• Refuse to allow or supply alcohol to anyone under 21.  As a parent, you cannot give alcohol to your teen’s friends under the age of 21 under any circumstance, even in your own home, even with their parent’s permission.

Talk, They Hear You Campaign

Talk with your children early and often about alcohol and drug use.

Parents have a significant influence in their children’s decision to experiment with alcohol and other drugs. Although it may not seem like it, when parents talk about underage drinking and substance use, their children do hear them.

The “Talk. They Hear You.” campaign aims to accomplish the following:

  1. Increase parents’ awareness of the prevalence and risk of underage drinking and substance use;
  2. Equip parents with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to prevent underage drinking and substance use; and
  3. Increase parents’ actions to prevent underage drinking and substance use.

Talk, They Hear You Resources:

Compliance Checks

Compliance checks conducted by law enforcement agents can significantly reduce the likelihood of illegal alcohol sales to underage individuals. Our local law enforcement will be conducting ongoing alcohol compliance checks throughout our county.

Community Events Toolkit

Our Community Event Toolkit includes ID scanners, wristbands, signs and information on best practices to keep our community safe. The kit is available to check out to use at any local community events where alcohol is being served. The use of the toolkit helps to reduce the over-consumption of alcohol, as well as reduce the availability of alcohol to minors. Help keep our community events fun and safe for everyone!

Enhanced Enforcement

Our Prevention Coalition is working closely with our local law enforcement to ensure enhanced enforcement of alcohol laws among youth offenders, including enhanced enforcement at parties, community events, and during high-risk nights such as prom, graduation and on holidays. Enhanced enforcement also includes compliance checks and bar checks.

Sources of Strength

Sources of Strength is a strength-based, comprehensive wellness program that focuses on suicide prevention but impacts other issues such as substance abuse, violence, and bullying. The program focuses on connectivity, school bonding, peer-adult partnerships and help seeking behavior.

Sources of Strength is implemented in our local middle school and high school. The program uses teams of Peer Leaders mentored by Adult Advisors to change peer social norms about help seeking and encourages students to individually assess and develop strengths in their life.

Contact Us:
Hot Springs County Prevention Coalition
415 Springview / Thermopolis, WY 82443
(307) 864-6520 / jcheney@hotsprings1.org

%d bloggers like this: