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Teen Alcohol Use Continues to Fall
By MADD | October 20, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Power of Parents

According to new numbers released by the Department of Health and Human Services, Drug and alcohol use among America's teens continues to decline.

From 2002 to 2013, the rate of regular alcohol use among teens (12 to 17) declined from 17.6 percent to 11.6 percent.

These findings come from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH),an annual, nationally-representative survey of roughly 70,000 Americans aged 12 and older.

Despite a common myth that “everybody’s doing it,” we know that two out of three teens DON’T drink alcohol. And this new report proves it.

We are excited to hear this trend is continuing, especially with Red Ribbon Week just around the corner Find out how you can help reduce the deaths and injuries that come from underage drinking by visiting to download all of our free Red Ribbon Week resources and learn how you can get involved in your community.

You Only Live Once
By Jan Withers | October 1, 2014 | Filed in: National President , Underage Drinking

I read an article recently titled, “This is What Brave Means,” by Glennon Doyle Melton. In the article, she relayed something that her daughter, Tish, said to her in the car, “Mom, how come everyone says YOLO to try to get people to do dangerous stuff? How ‘bout be SAFE because YOLO???? You Only Live Once, so try not to get yourself dead so soon.”

Underage drinking kills 4,700 people each year, more than all the other drugs combined. It is dangerous, and too often deadly.

Many teens push others to take these risks by telling them they are being fearless or daring. If they don’t they are often labeled wimps. But I love how Glennon illustrates bravery.

“Give me that girl [or guy] who says no in the face of pressure to bong a beer or bully a peer. Give me a girl [or guy] who pleases that internal voice before pleasing others. Give me that person so I can call her [or him] BRAVE loudly and proudly in front of the whole world. Give me a person who has the wisdom to listen to [his] her own voice and the courage to speak it out loud. Even if it disappoints others. Especially then.”

I say it again. Drinking before 21 is dangerous. It literally kills thousands of people every year, including my daughter Alisa who was killed by an underage drunk driver when she was 15.

As Tish says, “YOLO. You Only Live Once, so try not to get yourself dead too soon.” I like the way she thinks! She is brave.

Encourage Teens to Live Drug and Alcohol-Free this Red Ribbon Week
By MADD | October 1, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking

Every October during Red Ribbon Week – just in time for homecoming and the holidays – schools and communities across the country encourage young people to live a drug-free life. This year for Red Ribbon Week, MADD is launching new resources to help teens, educators and community members empower teens to take a stand against underage drinking.

One important resource for teens is The 411 on Teen Drinking. This booklet, sponsored by State Farm®, contains useful information to help teens resist peer pressure, influence other teens to not drink before age 21 and never get in the car with someone who’s been drinking.

Every person who downloads our teen booklet, The 411 on Teen Drinking, in the month of October will be entered to win a new Apple Watch in 2015!

Help us reduce the deaths and injuries that come from underage drinking by visiting to download all of our free Red Ribbon Week resources and learn how you can get involved in your community.

2014-2015 National Teen Influencer Group
By MADD | September 25, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Teen Influencer

We are excited to announce the 10 teens chosen to be a part of the 2014-2015 National Teen Influencer Group:

Dakota Baker
10th grade
C.A. Gray Junior High School
Norman Park, GA

Stormey Barton
11th grade
Hyde Park High School
Austin, TX

Kassidy Brown
12th grade
Lufkin High School
Lufkin, TX

Sarah Haiken
11th grade
Half Hollow Hills High School East
Melville, NY

Kenya James
12th grade
Denham Springs High School
Denham Springs, LA

Lauren “Alex” Otte
12th grade
Trinity Christian Academy
Lexington, KY

Ashley Persson
12th grade
Temecula High School
Winchester, CA

Madison Romeo
11th grade
Lambert High School
Suwanee, GA

Hollywood Ruch
12th grade
Mechanicsburg High School
New Cumberland, PA

Cady Snell
12th grade
Rocky Mountain High School
Meridian, ID

We’ve got some amazing teens involved this year, including one who founded a student organization to fight peer pressure related to drugs and alcohol and another who competes in the Ms. America pageants with a platform of underage drinking prevention. One of the teens is an active member of her town’s Mayoral Youth Advisory Board where she chairs the Anti-Drug Coalition and works to create a community where underage drinking is not supported.  And that’s just a few examples!  All 10 teens were selected based on their commitment to be drug and alcohol-free and the desire to share MADD’s message to their peers. 

Several of the teens have also been personally impacted by drunk driving and have volunteered with their local MADD office, sharing their story at Victim Impact Panels and other MADD events to help prevent others from experiencing the tragedy they’ve had to endure.

Congratulations to our 10 new Teen Influencers! We look forward to working with these outstanding youth to empower other teens to avoid alcohol before 21 and never get in the car with someone who has been drinking.

MADD’s National Teen Influencer Group is part of the Power of You(th) program, sponsored by State Farm®, designed to equip teens with the information and resources to help them avoid drinking alcohol before 21.

For more information about the Power of You(th) program, or to download the teen booklet called The 411 on Teen Drinking, visit

Code Word
By Guest Blogger | September 18, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Power of Parents , Teen Influencer

by 15 year old Sarah Haiken, a member of MADD’s National Teen Influencer Group

My name is Sarah Haiken and I am a 15 year old Junior from New York. While getting back into my school routine, the nerves of being accepted have arrived. I am often anxious that my strict views on underage drinking will cause my peers to make me an outcast. However, I have learned to control this fear by avoiding situations where alcohol may be involved. I do this by having a code word with my parents. Whenever I don't feel comfortable somewhere, I can text or call my parents saying the code word and they know to pick me up. This allows me to blame my parents for not doing something I don't feel comfortable with, and my peers cannot pressure me or make fun of me for it. It's the perfect way for me to get out of a situation without feeling "uncool."

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