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Prevention is the key to change.  
More than any other age group on the planet, teenagers are the most at risk for becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs than anyone else.  Numerous scientific studies support that teenage drinkers and users of drugs become addicted more quickly than adults do.  There are a variety of reason for this.  This is partially due to a lack of maturity in decision making, but also at a biological level in relationship to brain and body development.  The less developed or fully matured brain simply becomes more susceptible to addiction than an adult brain.  

For many years the smoking industry marketed highly to teens but in ways that were not obvious.  The multi-billion dollar alcohol industry is no so different than its cousin the smoker.  There is a reason why certain drinks are more appealing to young people than older people.  Back in the 80's the "Wine Cooler" was the drink of choice for most high school parties.  Now we see a mixture of caffeinated drinks and alcohol which can have a lethal effect.

Youngsters need early education as a way to better understand the risks and consequences associated with drinking and using drugs.  Of course, parents can play a vital role in helping youth, but not enough.  Most teenagers are interested, even fascinated by the facts about alcohol and drugs.  When this information is presented in a way that is appealing to them, they are more inclined to want to gain knowledge about this intricate and compelling topic.

Teenagers in our current generation aren't "techies" by choice, but rather because technology is part of the world we live in today, learning this information by computer is probably the most effective route.  A simple, yet well constructed Minor in Possession class online is an effective intervention that every teen should experience.

What can teens expect to learn?

    Alcohol and Drug Abuse Risk Factors
    The cost of Abuse and Addiction
    Understanding Narcotics, Stimulants, Prescriptions, Marijuana, Methamphetamine
    Health Risks of Alcohol and Drug Use
    How Drugs effect the Brain, Central Nervous System and Body
    Risk Factors for teenagers
    Diseases associated with alcohol and drug use
    Communication Skills as Prevention
    Skills in Stress Management
    Consequences and Risks of use with Minors
    Understanding Use, Abuse, Addiction, Relapse and Prevention

While the focus of this article is on teen prevention, I certainly do not want to omit the fact that adults need help too.  Gaining skills in alcohol awareness and drug education is crucial for becoming a more educated person.  Taking an alcohol awareness class might be your first step in understanding the facts!