Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc. Chapter 9 Alcohol 285 A ccording to the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by the CDC, 33 percent of high school students drank some amount of alcohol during the past 30 days (Figure 9.12). This is an alarming percentage considering that alcohol use is illegal for people younger than 21 years of age. Remember Priya and Santiago from the previous lesson. Because of her family’s openness toward alcohol use, Priya does not see the dangers associated with alcohol as Santiago does. Last week, she even snuck a bottle of alcohol to a sleepover and shared it with her friends. Due to Priya’s carefree attitude toward alcohol, Santiago may feel peer pressured into drinking by Priya and his other friends. Santiago thinks about telling his parents about Priya’s alcohol use, but he does not want to get her in trouble. This lesson will explore some of the factors that may influence young people’s beliefs about alcohol use, such as Priya’s family influence and Santiago’s peer pressure. You will also learn about strategies for preventing alcohol use and the development of alcohol-use disorders. Luckily, treatment methods exist to help people overcome alcohol-use disorders. Identifying Factors That Influence Beliefs About Alcohol Use Several factors may influence young people’s beliefs about alcohol use. These factors may include family influences, peer pressure, and media messages. Certain people in a person’s environment can influence that person’s beliefs and expectations about alcohol. These people include parents, siblings, peers, and media figures. Generally, people who have the most influence are those the person considers important, and whose opinions he or she values. If these important people model unhealthy behaviors about alcohol, young people are more likely to engage in that unhealthy behavior. High school students in the last 30 days: 33% drank alcohol 18% binge drank alcohol 8% drove after drinking 20% rode with a driver who had been drinking Alcoholic beverages: Andrii Bezvershenko/Shutterstock.com SlipFloat/Shutterstock.com Steering wheel: Miceking/Shutterstock.com Figure 9.12 Because they fear the consequences of asking an adult for help, young people have a higher likelihood than adults of agreeing to drive under the influence and getting into a car with a drunk driver.