TDMHSAS and TABC Launch Back to School Campaign to Prevent Underage Alcohol Consumption

Social media messaging shares risks and resources
Wednesday, August 02, 2023 | 08:21am

NASHVILLE, Tenn.— 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 launches in August 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 for the substance ever used by the most Tennessee youth. 
  • Six in ten students said it was very easy or fairly easy to obtain alcohol.
  • 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:

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