As you go through your days at school and elsewhere, you have to make lots of choices about what you will do and what you won’t do. You might be presented with choices to use or not use alcohol and drugs at some point. These choices can feel tempting, especially if friends are using drugs or alcohol. However, traveling down this road can have serious consequences. Some effects of drugs and alcohol may be immediate, while others might not show up right away.


When you drink alcohol, you can feel its effects quite quickly. You might notice that your coordination changes, so you can’t walk or talk as you normally do. You might also begin hearing and seeing things differently after drinking. Your emotions usually change after drinking, too. People who drink too much often become addicted to alcohol. Alcohol addiction can lead to serious problems with health, responsibilities, family, friends, and even the law.

  • Alcohol’s Effects on the Body: Drinking too much alcohol can have a bad effect on your heart, liver, and pancreas. Drinking too much alcohol can also make it easier for your body to catch serious diseases.
  • Alcohol Overview: When you drink alcohol, it relaxes your central nervous system as it enters your bloodstream. Drinking enough alcohol can lead to a reduced ability to function.
  • Alcohol Frequently Asked Questions: Alcohol influences people differently depending on their age, physical condition, family history, and the amount of food eaten before drinking.
  • Risky Drinking Can Put a Chill on Your Summer Fun (PDF): Drinking alcohol while swimming or boating is a bad idea. People lose their ability to make wise decisions after drinking, so accidents could happen.
  • Alcohol Facts: About half of everyone in America over the age of 12 reports drinking some amount of alcohol, with almost one-quarter of these people binge drinking.
  • How Much Is Too Much?: Take this online test to see if your current drinking patterns are problematic.
  • Alcohol and Adolescents: When teenagers drink alcohol, serious dangers can happen. Driving while drinking can lead to fatal car crashes.
  • Alcohol and Cancer Risk: Drinking too much alcohol could lead to some types of cancer, including liver, breast, and esophageal cancer.
  • Substance Abuse Prevention Program: Research suggests that kids who start drinking alcohol by age 13 are more likely to become addicted to it.
  • Preventing Drug Abuse and Excessive Alcohol Use: Binge drinking means drinking five or more drinks at one time for men or four or more drinks at one time for women.
  • Using Drugs to Deal with Stress and Trauma (PDF): Alcohol is an easy crutch when people feel scared, overwhelmed, sad, angry, or tired. Although it’s easy to turn to alcohol for coping, this is not a positive solution.
  • Consequences of Youth Substance Abuse: Abusing alcohol can lead to school problems, health issues, and trouble with family and friends.
  • Substance Abuse Prevention: Abusing alcohol might lead to people not handling their responsibilities and legal problems due to arrests.
  • Resisting Spoken Peer Pressure: Friends might pressure you to use alcohol. If this happens, you can resist by saying no, by suggesting another activity, or by walking away.
  • Short- and Long-Term Effects: Alcohol can have immediate harmful effects as well as longer-term effects such as disruptions in brain development and liver damage.
  • Effect of Drugs and Alcohol on the Adolescent Brain (PDF): Your brain is still developing until you are about 24 years old. Drinking alcohol before this age can impact brain development.
  • The Medical Impact of Alcohol Use on Your Teen: Kids and teenagers may have more serious impairment from alcohol than adults do because of their younger age.
  • Alcohol and the Brain: Alcohol has a lot of negative effects on the brain.
  • The Truth About Alcohol (video): Watch a video of real people sharing their experiences with alcohol abuse and dependency.
  • Alcohol and Violence (PDF): Violence and crime have a strong connection with alcohol consumption.


Drugs are strong chemicals that have an effect on the body. Some drugs are legal, which means that doctors can prescribe them to patients to help with illnesses. Other drugs are illegal, which means that people make these dangerous substances and sell them to others. People might use illegal drugs to make them feel energized or relaxed. Because drugs change the way the body works, they can have a very dangerous effect. Drugs can harm the heart, the brain, or other organs. People might also become addicted to drugs, which means their bodies crave them.