Preliminary 2018 Illinois Youth Survey data collected in the spring from our students contains good news! In the District 203 & 204 High Schools Additional Questions Report (N=11,127 students), 82%of are alcohol-free in 2018, up from 81% in 2016. Consider that in 2014 77% were alcohol-free, and in 2003 66% were alcohol-free. The shift to healthy choices keeps incrementally moving in a positive direction.

3 Surprising Reasons Youth Are Drinking Less Alcohol

1. Teens like feeling in control. High school students enjoy balanced social interactions. Risky behaviors could mean public regrets in the age of social media.

2. Youth culture has changed. Like smoking cigarettes is no longer cool, there’s been a subtle shift in perception about alcohol use by youth. Campaigns, including the Power of Choice, share the norm that the majority of teens are not drinking. Science shows that an accurate perception of social norms matters to a teen when decide what to do when offered an addictive substance. Most teens say they don’t need it.

3. Others count on them alcohol-free. In summer 2018 focus groups and intercept surveys, Power of Choice learned the local high school participants valued being alcohol-free so they could “be there” for their little brothers and sisters, and for friends who might need them.

Research shows the risk of using an addictive substance is reduced by half for teens whose parents keep talking with them about not using alcohol and other drugs. Tips for

Connecting With Your Teen

Set aside time to hang out with your kid. With time, comes opportunity conversation.

Make it easy for your teen to talk honestly with you. Keep listening without judgment to

stories about their friends. They’ll keep trust you will help them, lovingly, when needed.

Set a good example regarding your own alcohol use. Kids look up to parents, and respect them as role models. They don’t want to let you down. Kids often feel most comfortable in conversation with a parent at a time when the parent is not under the effects of alcohol.

While alcohol consumption has gone down, there is a different addiction that is engulfing the youth.


2018 Illinois Youth Survey data collected in the spring from our students contains important news. The District 203 & 204 community report (students surveyed N=11,128) found 82% of students chose to be electronic-cigarette-free in 2018. While this is the majority, it fell from 92% in 2016 (past 30-day use rates). The Power of Choice, state and federal public health agencies are bringing resources and useful information to parents and students to spread awareness of the risks of use.


1. Electronic cigarettes, also known as “e-cigs” and “vape pens”—recognized under brand names such as JUUL, Blue and Halo, are battery-powered devices delivering liquid nicotine, flavorings,and other additives. In Naperville and Aurora, teens must be 21 to legally purchase the devices and liquids.

2. Adolescents who try e-cigarette devices, may soon acquire their own device and becomeaddicted to the effects of nicotine which can occur within days of vaping regularly. This potentially can create an expensive, lifelong health hazard. Chemical exposure include formaldehyde, acerolein, benzene, and metals nickel and lead.

3. Once addicted, some teens risk school discipline by using in school. While the aerosolized vapors can be odorless, school officials have become vigilant of areas of typical violators. E-cigs are sometimes used to deliver other drugs including marijuana. Use, possession and selling these devices is prohibited on school property and violators may face disciplinary action and may be referred to local police if under 18.