Case Study

Talking to Teens about Alcohol

While taking a medical history, you ask 16-year-old Randy about his use of alcohol. He says he does not drink because he needs to stay in shape to play running back on the football team. "But everyone keeps pressuring me to drink," he says. He admits he regularly rides in cars with his older brother's friends who drink and drive.

One recent night, he was in a car driven by a friend who had a fender bender. Another classmate was driving the other vehicle, so no one called the police or admitted to parents that alcohol was involved.

He has been invited to a drinking party on New Year’s Eve at the home of a friend whose parents will be out of town. Randy asks you whether one night of heavy drinking will affect his health.

portrait of teen boy
16 years

How should you respond?

Remind Randy about the high rate of drunken driving fatalities among adolescents and tell him he could end up as one of those fatal statistics, especially on New Year’s Eve when many people celebrate the holiday with a drink.

Inform Randy that you are legally obligated to report his friends’ behavior because they are endangering lives.

Ask Randy how he feels about his friends’ drinking and keep the discussion focused on how he can make healthy choices over a lifetime.

Tell Randy that one night of binge drinking could put him at risk for a lifetime of dangerous drinking behavior.

Related Texas Health Steps courses

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