WEDNESDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- About three-quarters of American high school students say they don't drink alcohol, a new survey finds.
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The top five reasons why teens said they don't drink are: it's illegal; it can harm health; it can affect their school grades; parents don't approve; and they don't want to be like others who drink.
The poll of 695 high school students also found that more than half said they'd be less likely to be friends with or date someone who is an underage drinker.
The survey findings were released by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) as part of Red Ribbon Week (Oct. 21-25), a national campaign in which schools and communities help raise awareness about the dangers of drug and alcohol use among youth.
"As adults, we know how dangerous underage drinking is for our kids, but these new survey results show that teens are getting the message, too," MADD national president Jan Withers said in a news release from the group.
While the findings offer some positive news, underage drinking still results in the deaths of 4,700 young Americans each year. That toll is higher than for all other drugs combined, according to MADD.
That's why the group created a program called the Power of You(th), which is meant to help teens resist peer pressure to drink and to encourage nondrinking teens to influence other teens to avoid alcohol.
As part of Red Ribbon Week, MADD is encouraging teens to create a 15-second Instagram video that answers the question: "If you don't drink today, what could your tomorrow be?" Entries in The Power of You(th) National Teen Video Contest will be accepted until Dec. 20. The grand prize winner will receive $1,500, and the school with the most entries will also receive $1,500.
-- Robert Preidt
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SOURCE: Mothers Against Drunk Driving, news release, Oct. 21, 2013
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