Teen Drinking Prevention

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department works to reduce teens’ first time use of alcohol.

We join with our community partners and community coalitions to promote long-term policies, environment or systems changes to reduce youth access to alcohol. Activities include work such educating retailers about placement of alcohol in store, reducing alcohol theft , limiting the number of alcohol retailers and supporting social host ordinances which help to reduce risk factors and promote a more protective environment. Everyone in the community, from parents to stores, play an important role in reducing teen access to alcohol.

Why is preventing underage drinking so important?

Young people who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to develop alcohol problems later in life. Four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence. Six times more likely to get in a physical fight right after drinking.

In addition, teen drinkers perform worse in school, are more likely to fall behind, and have an increased risk of social problems, depression, suicidal thoughts, and violence. Alcohol use among youth increases long-term risks of brain damage, stroke, high blood pressure, and permanent liver damage.

As parents, you may think:

“Hosting a teen party and allowing alcohol consumption at my home provides a safe controlled environment. They’re going to do it anyway. This way, I can at least keep an eye on them.”

Hosting a party with alcohol for your underage teen is illegal and sends a message that it’s ok to drink at home, so it’s okay to drink anywhere. These parties reinforce underage drinking. (MADD)

“Alcohol is harmless and just a part of growing up”

When teens drink, they drink to get drunk. Typically teens drink five or more drinks in a row (which is called binge drinking) and can cause alcohol poisoning and possibly death.

“My child does not drink alcohol”

Start talking to them now about the dangers of alcoholism. Set clear rules and be specific. Know your children’s friends and their parents. Build a strong relationship and a close bond with your child through positive interactions.

Let’s all work together to build a community that encourages teens to live a healthy lifestyles.

For more information contact: Tutrecia Giles tgiles@tpchd.org, 253-798-6545

or visit:



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Washington State Liquor Control Board

Alcohol Retailers

Thank you for to checking identification and preventing alcohol theft in your stores. For more information go to the Washington State Local Control Board’s website and learn about the Responsible Vendors Program.
Washington State Liquor Control Board