Youth Alcohol Prevention

Developed by Valley Community Services Board in partnership with the Greater Augusta Prevention Partners Coalition, this alcohol prevention campaign was a social norms campaign aimed to reduce underage drinking among youth ages 12-17 in Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County. The 2018 campaign focused to change the overall perceptions the community has around alcohol use among local youth by increasing awareness of local youth alcohol trends, overall.


About Alcohol

  • Alcohol is a depressant which means it slows down the way the body functions. This can cause slurred speech, unsteady movements, and delayed reaction time. 1,2
  • While alcohol has many short-term effects, research shows that drinking during the teenage years can harm the teen brain by interfering with normal brain development and harming the brains ability to process information and learn.1,2
  • Drinking is also known to lower inhibitions and increase the chance that those who use it to engage in risky behaviors.1,2
  • In the United States, the legal age to consume alcohol is 21 years old. This is important to remember because many people throughout the United States are abusing alcohol under the legal age limit. This not only can cause issues with the legal system, it also can cause health problems long-term. In fact, Research has shown that youth who drink before age 15 are six times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.1,2
  • Children who use alcohol have higher rates of academic problems and poor school performance compared with nondrinkers.1


Alcohol Facts

  • The average age youth begin to use alcohol in Staunton and Waynesboro is 13 years old.3,4
  • 84% of youth in Staunton and Waynesboro have not abused alcohol in the past 30 days.3,4
  • 94% of youth in Staunton and Waynesboro believe that drinking alcohol on a regular basis puts people at risk of harming themselves.3,4
  • 97% of youth in Staunton and Waynesboro believe their parents would disapprove of them drinking alcohol on a regular basis.3,4


Tips for Parents

  • Start a conversation. Because so many kids start experimenting with alcohol early in life (13 years old in our local community!), it is very important that parents don’t wait until their children are teenagers before they start talking to them about underage drinking.
  • Say something. What you say to your child about alcohol is up to you. But remember, parents who do not discourage underage drinking may have an indirect influence on their children’s alcohol use.
  • Be a positive role model. Remember that your behavior affects your child. Studies have shown that parents have a great influence on their child’s decision about alcohol consumption.


Additional Resources



1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Alcohol and Public Health.
2 National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
3 Thelk, A. D. (2014). Report of the 2014 Administration of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey: Waynesboro (VA) City Schools. Waynesboro, VA: Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth.
4 Thelk, A. D. (2014). Report of the 2014 Administration of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey: Staunton (VA) City Schools. Staunton, VA: Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth


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