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Drug and alcohol counselor speaks on underage drinking

Posted at 6:31 PM, Jan 05, 2021

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Underage drinking is certainly an issue parents have to deal with and a drug and alcohol counselor says this is something teens and parents can work together and talk about.

Grief and heartbreak inside The Ridges community in Summerlin. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the death of a teenage girl on New Year’s Day.

Officers say the girl was found unresponsive at a home after an alcohol-related incident.

RELATED STORY: Vegas teen dies after ‘alcohol-related’ incident in Summerlin

“It’s terrible and sad and preventable.”

David Marlon is a licensed drug and alcohol counselor. He says the stress from the pandemic may lead some teens to start drinking.

“There’s all kinds of bad outcomes from COVID, many close to our families, and with this sadness comes a desire to get an escape,” he said.

He suspects there may be an increase in adolescent drinking this year but says there are ways to address this if parents believe their child is drinking.

“It makes sense for a parent to have a discussion with a child. To put up some boundaries,” he said.

Marlon encourages regular dialogue with children in regards to alcohol and drugs to keep their awareness up.

“The first things that kids learn if they’re drinking or using are that they have to lie, even if they’re good kids and they still love you, they’re taught by their peers that they have to hide it from you. You need to recognize there is a cat and mouse game going on,” he said.

Under Nevada law, a teenager won’t face alcohol-related charges if they call 911 for a friend who may have been drinking too much and needs help.


  • 7.05 million American teens between the ages of 12 and 20 reported current alcohol consumption in 2019
  • Binge drinking and heavy alcohol consumption declined for same age group between 2010 and 2019
  • Adults who had their first drink before age of 15 are 6.5 times more likely to develop an alcohol-use disorder
  • For students in 8th, 10th and 20th grades, the amount of alcohol consumption and binge drinking increased in 2020.
  • Past month consumption of alcohol by 8th graders was 8%. That’s down from a high of 25% in 1991.
  • 4% of 8th grade student reported binge drinking in past 2 weeks, but 53% perceive it to be risky behavior and 83% disapproved of binge drinking.
  • Past month consumption of alcohol by 10th graders was 18%, down from 43% in 1991.
  • 9% of 10th graders reported binge drinking in past 2 weeks, but 53% perceive it to be risky behavior and 81% disapproved of binge drinking.
  • Past month consumption of alcohol by 12th graders was 29%, down from 54% in 1991.
  • 14% of 12th graders reported binge drinking in past 2 weeks, but 41% perceive it to be risky behavior and 75% disapproved of it.
  • Binge drinking which is defined as more than 10 drinks in a row, increased more than 1% in 2020, but declined 26% proportionally from 2011 to 2020.
  • In 2019, almost3% of 8th graders report being drunk in the past month, an increase from 2018.
  • 9% of 10th graders say they have been drunk in the past month, a non-significant increase from 2018.
  • High school seniors reporting being drunk was unchanged from 2018 to 2019.
  • The majority of American teens do not drink alcohol. Only 45% of teens surveyed recently had consumed alcohol. 80% of teens admitted to drinking in 1991.
  • Three out of four 8th graders (75 percent) report they have never consumed alcohol, down 65% proportionally from 70% in 1991 to 25% in 2019. Lifetime consumption of alcohol among tenth graders and twelfth graders declined proportionally 49% and 36%, respectively, since 1991.

SOURCE: Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility