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Underage drinking occurs throughout the country, but is more prevalent in Tuscaloosa than most places.

According to a recent statistic, the monthly use of alcohol by 12th-grade students in Tuscaloosa is higher than the national average.

“Underage drinking is not a new problem by any means it’s been around for years and years and going back to generations I suppose,” Derek Osbourne, the executive director of PRIDE of Tuscaloosa, said. “We know that the cost is not only human lives, but also the other effects that come along with underage drinking. The main thing we are really trying to focus on here is making kids understand addiction and trying to make a kid understand addiction is very very difficult to do because they have never been addicted to something.”

PRIDE stands for the Parents’ Resources Institute for Drug Education and serves to help parents and teens talk about and prevent alcohol- and drug-related issues in the Tuscaloosa community.

Preventing underage drinking will be a topic of emphasis during National Prevention Week, which stretches from May 12 to May 18. This year’s prevention week plans to highlight different topics of concern, including marijuana use, tobacco use and preventing suicide.

More information about National Prevention Week can be found on the Alabama Department of Mental Health’s Facebook page. Information on PRIDE of Tuscaloosa can be found at

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