Office: 908-204-3070
After Hours: 908-766-1122
Fax: 908-204-3075

262 South Finley Ave
Basking Ridge, NJ

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Teen Reality Check

Being a teenager is a fun time that comes with new and exciting responsibilities. Yet it can be confusing, and making good choices may not always seem black and white. To top it off, your parents have more responsibility when it comes to raising teenagers. Click here to know the law and learn the liability that your parents bear if underage drinking occurs at their house.

The Teen Reality Check is your source for information on drugs and alcohol that relate to your life as a teen. Check out our interactive games and equip yourself with the knowledge that will keep you safe and having fun.

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is the influence that a peer group places on someone to change their behavior, values, or beliefs in order to conform to group norms. Think about a time that you gave into peer pressure and how it made you feel. Were you nervous? Disappointed in you? Did you feel guilty? There are a lot of reasons why someone might give into peer pressure:

  • They don’t want their friend to be mad at them
  • They want to fit in and be liked
  • They want to seem more grown up
  • They don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings
  • They don’t know how to get out of a situation

If you’re in a situation where you face direct or indirect peer pressure, what are some things you can do to diffuse the situation?

  • Suggest an alternative
  • Stand up tall and confidently say no
  • Be prepared to resist alcohol
  • Stand up for others
  • Take a reality check - most teens DON’T drink alcohol
  • Remember the consequences
  • Walk away from the situation

Most of all, remember that most people will respect any decision that you make.

What's so bad about alcohol?

Maybe you’re wondering, “what’s so bad about having a few drinks?” Visit the Virtual Bar to find out the effect that just a few drinks will have on your Blood Alcohol Content, or BAC, which tells you how much your body is affected by alcohol.

In New Jersey, if you are under the age of 21, it is illegal to drive after drinking ANY amount of alcohol. For those over 21, the legal BAC limit is .08.

Besides drinking and driving, there are other reasons why alcohol is especially dangerous for teens. New research shows that the adolescent brain matures up through age 25! Damage during this time can be long-term and irreversible. Some areas of the brain that are affected by alcohol use include:

  • Prefrontal cortex – center for judgment, reasoning, impulse control, retaining information, and learning
  • Hippocampus – center for memory and learning

These areas are not yet fully formed by the teenage years and drinking alcohol during this time can cause permanent damage to the brain.

Want some proof?

Take a look at some visual evidence.  To the left are the MRI’s of two 15 year old males, one a heavy drinking and the other a non-drinker. Both teens were given identical thinking tests, designed to stimulate brain activity, which can be seen in red. Can you guess who the heavy drinker is?

The image on the left shows a clear decrease in brain activity, and this is the heavy drinker. Comparing these images clearly shows that drinking has a profound effect on brain activity, and this could lead to lower grades, failing classes, poor judgment, and lack of interest in regular activities. Which side would you rather be on?

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