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SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
March/April 2009, Volume 17, Number 2 

Photo of four smiling teenagers

Underage Drinking: Awareness, Prevention Make a Difference

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and what better time to get kids talking about the dangers of underage drinking?

SAMHSA’s Too Smart To Start Web site provides useful programs and strategies, downloadable materials, interactive games and exercises, and other resources to support youth, families, educators, and communities in responding to The Surgeon General's Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking.

The site is divided into five categories: Tweens, Teens, Families, Educators, and Community Toolkit.

Activities for Kids

“Tweens”—generally, kids age 10 to 12—and teens will find interactive quizzes, games, and facts about alcohol.

In the section “Homework Help,” kids will find ways to apply what they learn about underage drinking to projects for health, art, English, math, and more. Teens will find ideas for presentations and speeches as well as community projects.

Need Advice?

Teens especially face pressures to drink. A section called “Need Advice?” allows teens to submit questions to the site and receive answers from experts on topics like peer pressure, handling adults who drink too much, and the idea that drinking alcohol will combat shyness.

Free eCards

Tweens, teens, and families will find eCards in English and in Spanish promoting healthy messages to send to friends and loved ones. For example, a “Teens” eCard shows a basketball player dunking the ball accompanied by the words, “Stay on top of your game.” An eCard in the “Families” section asks, “Do you know what your kids know about alcohol?”

The eCards can be personalized with messages up to 450 characters long.


Educators can help change attitudes about teen drinking, create an environment that can protect youth from underage drinking, and decrease the risk of adolescent alcohol use and the associated negative consequences.

A fact sheet in this section alerts educators to signs of underage alcohol use, such as behavioral changes—drop in school performance or shift in groups of friends—and emotional changes, such as mood swings, flare-ups, irritability, defensiveness, or a “nothing matters” attitude.

Visit SAMHSA’s Too Smart To Start Web site to find these resources and more!

Previously in SAMHSA News

Underage Drinking: What Parents Need To Know

Parent Awareness of Youth Substance Use Varies

How Much Are Young People Drinking?

  Cover Story & Related Articles  
Treatment as an Alternative to Jail

Treatment as an Alternative to Jail & Related Articles


Funding Opportunities

Requests for applications include a variety of new grants including Project Launch.

Awards for Suicide Prevention

Awards for Suicide Prevention

Symbolic “big checks” were presented to six organizations.

  Underage Drinking  
Underage Drinking: Related Articles

Underage Drinking: Related Articles

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Find out what you can do to help prevent and reduce drinking by teens and college students.

  Building Awareness  
Inhalants Often “First”

Inhalants Often “First”

News of recent deaths from sniffing refrigerants.

Are Prevention Messages Working?

Are Prevention Messages Working?

We’ve heard the commercials urging parents to talk. Are teens getting the message?

American Indians, Alaska Natives

American Indians, Alaska Natives

“Culture Card” offers information on tribal sovereignty, myths & facts, and more.

  Mental Health  

Economy: Help in Tough Times

You can’t see stress, but you certainly can feel it. A new SAMHSA Web site offers resources, referrals, and more.

States, IT, and Mental Health Services

States, IT, and Mental Health Services

A recent report gives a state-by-state update on information technology’s effect.

Lifeline on Twitter

Lifeline on Twitter

“Tweets” from the Nat’l Suicide Prevention Lifeline help awareness.

  Treatment Roundup  

Admissions, Facilities, & More

Recent data from two SAMHSA surveys – National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS) and Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) – provide updated information.

DVD Kit on Homelessness

DVD Kit on Homelessness

Programs in Seattle and Philadelphia are two success stories highlighted in this DVD.

Recovery Month

Recovery Month

Send your press releases, studies, and news on recovery for posting on the site.

  Staff in the News  
Kana Enomoto Honored

Kana Enomoto Honored

Deputy Administrator receives the inaugural King Davis Award for Emerging Leadership.

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Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration – 1 Choke Cherry Road – Rockville, MD 20857
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