You might hear teens (and even other parents) say that alcohol isn’t “that bad” or “OK in moderation.” However, the teen brain continues to develop until about age 25, therefore substances like alcohol and associated effects can be very dangerous for a growing teen.


About 1 in 3 Cambridge high school students are current alcohol users, according to the 2014 Cambridge Teen Health Survey. Parents can keep their teens safe by talking with them about alcohol and setting boundaries.

Download the 2014 Cambridge Teen Health Survey and the 2013 Cambridge Middle Grades Health Survey to see what teens and tweens reported about alcohol use and other health behaviors.

Health Effects

Alcohol is a depressant containing ethanol which is an intoxicating ingredient found in certain beverages. It can have short-term and long-term effects on a teenager’s health and developing brain.

Short-term effects: dizziness,nausea, vomiting, slurred speech, impairment of judgment (trouble thinking and problem solving), distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch), loss of motor coordination, disturbed sleep, increased aggressive acts(i.e., domestic violence, child abuse) or increased susceptibility to aggressive acts

Long-term effects: alcoholism (addiction), damaged vital organs (i.e., brain, heart, pancreas, liver), weakened immune system, greater risk of developing cancers

Want to learn more about alcohol? Check out Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and The Cool Spot.