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State Launches Back to School Campaign to Prevent Underage Alcohol Consumption

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) and Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) are kicking off back-to-school season with important messages about underage drinking for youth and their parents.

The campaign which launched this month, features information about alcohol use disorder, risks of underage alcohol consumption, and data on pre and post-pandemic alcohol consumption increases.  Messages also contain information on how to access treatment resources through the Tennessee REDLINE.

Results from the department’s biennial TN Together Student Survey reveal how Tennessee youth (8th, 10th, and 12th graders) regard alcohol consumption:

  • 30% of students reported ever drinking alcohol.  That’s tied with vaping nicotine, the substance ever used by most Tennessee youth. 
  • Six in ten students said it was very easy or fairly easy to obtain alcohol.
  • The average age of first alcohol consumption was 13 years and a half years.

“While fentanyl and other illicit drugs get the headlines they rightly deserve, alcohol is still the most misused substance among Tennesseans of all ages because it is so widely available.  It’s so important for parents to talk to their children about the real risks of underage drinking,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW.  “We’re so grateful to our partners at TABC, and we are hopeful these messages reach people and make a difference.”

“We are excited to work with Commissioner Williams to address the dangers of underage drinking in Tennessee. Having a strategic partnership with other state agencies greatly amplifies our efforts to eliminate the harmful impact of alcohol abuse,” said TABC Executive Director Russell Thomas.

Parents can take small steps to prevent underage drinking like securing alcohol in the home, increasing your awareness of risk factors for teen alcohol use, and being a positive role model around alcohol consumption.  Learn more about preventing underage drinking and substance use at this link: SAMHSA.gov/talk-they-hear-you

If you or a loved one needs addiction treatment or other resources, call or text the Tennessee REDLINE at 800-889-9789.

Lucky Knott

Lucky Knott

One of Southern Tennessee's most experienced and recognized news broadcasters and play-by-play sportscasters. News and Sports Director for Rooster 101.5 FM, 93.9 The Duck and Whiskey Country 105.1, and 95.9. He is currently the play-by-play voice of the Coffee County Red Raiders (31 years) on The Rooster 101.5 and can be heard M-F broadcasting our local news. Lucky has done play-by-play for 3,993 (and counting) sports events on Radio & TV. He also served four years as the Public Information Officer for the Coffee Co. Sheriff's Dept. and taught Radio/TV for six years at Grundy County High School.

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