Beach Cities Health District identified substance use as a health priority for 2022-25. For more information about the health priorities, visit www.bchd.org/healthreport.
Know the Facts
- Alcohol is the most widely used substance by youth in United States (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2021)
- People who start drinking before the age of 15 are at a higher risk for developing alcohol use disorder later in life (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2021)
In the Beach Cities:
- 30% of Beach Cities 11th graders report using alcohol or drugs in the past 30 days, which is higher than both Los Angeles County (20%) and California levels (23.4%)
- 16% of Beach Cities 11th graders report binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row) in the past 30 days, which is higher than both Los Angeles County (7%) and California levels (8.5%)
- One in four Beach Cities 9th graders report it “very easy” to obtain alcohol
(Source: California Healthy Kids Survey, 2022)
The Dangers of Underage Alcohol Use
- Youth who consume alcohol are more likely to experience:
- School problems, such as higher rates of absences or lower grades.
- Social problems, such as fighting or lack of participation in youth activities.
- Legal problems, such as arrest for driving under the influence or physically hurting someone while drunk.
- Physical problems, such as hangovers or illnesses.
- Unwanted, unplanned and unprotected sexual activity.
- Disruption of normal growth or sexual development.
- Physical and sexual violence.
- Increased risk of suicide and homicide.
- Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes and other unintentional injuries, such as burns, falls or drowning.
- Misuse of other substances.
- Alcohol poisoning.
(Source: CDC, 2021)
- Alcohol use interferes with brain development which can cause cognitive or learning problems (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2021)
Youth-Inspired Alcohol Prevention Interventions
BCHD’s Youth Advisory Council produced a PhotoVoice titled “Youth Perspectives of Alcohol Use in the Beach Cities.” The goal for this project was to highlight the youth voice and point of view on alcohol’s impact on the well-being of their local community. Students compiled photos, testimonials from peers, statistics and relevant research to develop a presentation explaining how the home environment and easy accessibility contribute to widespread alcohol use by youth in the Beach Cities. View the PhotoVoice here.
BCHD’s Youth Advisory Council’s Summer Workgroup created a complementary campaign, “Don’t Drink, Rethink” to utilize the momentum of the original PhotoVoice. Postcards with statistics and ideas for activities that promote healthy behaviors and habits served as peer-to-peer messaging to highlight suggested alternatives to youth alcohol use.
To view or download postcard, click on image.
- Visit www.bchd.org/resources for health-related information and referrals or call BCHD’s Assistance, Information and Referral Line at (310) 374-3426 and press option 1, Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Los Angeles County Department of Public Health: The Substance Abuse Prevention and Control program leads and facilitates the delivery of a full spectrum of prevention, treatment and recovery support services proven to reduce the impact of substance use, abuse and addiction in Los Angeles County.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Alcohol and Public Health: Underage Drinking
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Promoting and implementing prevention and early intervention strategies to reduce the impact of mental and substance use disorders in America’s communities.