In the News – ‘2023 State of Underage Drinking’ Survey

In the News: Talk it Out NC Shares Results of ‘2023 State of Underage Drinking’ Survey


In 2023, Talk it Out NC conducted a survey of more than 800 parents, as well as students ages 11 to 18, to better understand teenage alcohol use in North Carolina. The results are a snapshot of underage drinking perceptions and behaviors in North Carolina, including peer, parental, and social media influences on a teen’s decision to drink alcohol.

Talk it Out NC Ambassadors shared the results of the 2023 State of Underage Drinking in North Carolina with local media outlets to help further Talk it Out NC’s mission to prevent underage drinking. Some of the key takeaways from the survey include:

  • Parents and other trusted adults can have a positive impact on preventing underage drinking by having age-appropriate conversations about alcohol earlier.
  • Many teens are embarrassed to talk to their parents about underage drinking, and students believe that talking about it could help prevent it.


Ambassador Dr. Wanda Boone Discusses When Parents Should Begin Talking to Children About Alcohol

Talk it Out NC Ambassador Dr. Wanda Boone spoke to WHNS-TV news in the Asheville area about the new survey. She shared the results and helpful information about how parents can talk with their children about the dangers of underage drinking.

“Many people do wait a little bit too long,” said Dr. Boone. “When we think about starting conversations with our children, we really should think about what those conversations are.”

She explained a few steps that parents can take to prevent underage drinking:

  • Start the Conversation.
  • Stick to the facts.
  • Explain the risks.
  • Encourage your teen to find a peer that is committed to not drinking alcohol.
  • Put a plan in place to help your child avoid dangerous social situations.
  • Encourage teens to Take the Pledge to avoid underage drinking.

Dr. Boone reminds parents that the adolescent brain is not fully developed until a person is around 25 years old and that consuming alcohol underage can negatively impact brain development in teens.

Talk it Out NC’s Message Across the State

WXII-TV in the Greensboro area broadcast the important message to prevent underage drinking by sharing additional highlights from the survey, including:

  • 93% of students believe parents could stop underage drinking by talking to their kids.
  • Nearly two-thirds of students tried alcohol during middle school.

The more the community understands the realities and dangers of underage drinking, the more we can influence change to prevent it.

Around the Triangle: Ambassador Joe Marks Shares Importance of Having Early and Often Conversations About Alcohol

Talk it Out NC Ambassador Joe Marks spoke with Raleigh’s WTDV-TV to share the importance of early and frequent conversations. He also talked about the need for adults to really listen to young people.

“If you Start the Conversation with simple, easy conversations with your kids every day, like, ‘How was your day? What’s going on?’ and listen, it’s a lot easier to have the more difficult conversations,” said Marks.

Data from the 2023 State of Underage Drinking in North Carolina report emphasized how early parents should really be speaking to their children about alcohol. The report shows:

  • More than half (51%) of parents say they would wait until their child is 12 or older to have conversations about alcohol.  
  • 35% of students who tried alcohol say they did so by age 12.

18-year-old Christian Villadsen also shared his story of early substance misuse with WTDV-TV. In middle school, he began drinking alcohol underage and vaping. Now, at 18, he is celebrating his sobriety and attends Wake Monarch Academy, a non-profit, private high school that supports teens in recovery.

Villadsen’s story and Marks’ words remind parents of the importance of talking to children early. Talk it Out NC suggests parents can begin having age-appropriate conversations starting at age 8. 

National Media Coverage

Talk it Out NC’s message to prevent underage drinking has been shared beyond North Carolina. 

Talk it Out NC encourages parents and teens to Start the Conversation, no matter what state they live in, and join the initiative to stop underage drinking. To learn more, check out the complete survey results and join us in talking with your teen about ways to stay safe.