1.) What is "Operation Save Teens"?

ANSWER: "Operation Save Teens" is a free education program developed to inform middle and high school students about the inherent dangers of recreational alcohol and drug use.

2.) What is the central focus of “Operation Save Teens”?

ANSWER: “Operation Save Teens” is centered around the principle of choosing your friends wisely and making good choices, but incorporates messaging on alcohol, drugs, bullying, gun safety, motor vehicle safety, social media best practices, and other self-destructive trends.

3.) How long has “Operation Save Teens” existed?

ANSWER: “Operation Save Teens” was established in 2001. The first "Operation Save Teens" program was presented on March 15, 2001, at the Anniston Meeting Center in Calhoun County, Alabama. To date, "Operation Save Teens" has educated hundreds of thousands of students throughout the State of Alabama. In 2006, the program received national attention when it was named the "National Liquor Law Enforcement Education Program of the Year".

4.) What is the target age of “Operation Save Teens”?

ANSWER: There are two versions of the program. We have a version that is designed for 5th and 6th graders and we have a high school version for grades 7th through 12th. The high school version really gets down to the brass tacks of issues facing youth in America.

5.) How long is the Operation Save Teens program?

ANSWER: The program is 90 minutes in length.

6.) Does “Operation Save Teens” charge a fee for the presentation?

ANSWER: No, there is no charge for the "Operation Save Teens" program. The program is fully funded by the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, and sponsored by the Coosa Valley Resource And Development Council, Big Time Entertainment of Oxford, the Birmingham Bulls Hockey, Chic-Fil-A of Oxford, and Pell City.

7.) How can I get “Operation Save Teens” to present at my civic organization, church, or school?

ANSWER: If you are interested in booking "Operation Save Teens", please contact Lt. Mike Reese at 256-310-5741.


8.) Why is it important to wait until the age of 21 to drink?

ANSWER: First of all it is illegal for a person under the Age of 21 to drink in the United States. Secondly drinking at a young age puts youth at risk in two ways. The human brain is not fully developed until around 25 years old. Drinking at a young age hinders the development of the brain and its functionality. Research demonstrates that teens who start drinking before age 15 are 6 times more likely to develop problems with alcohol abuse or alcohol dependency than those who start drinking later in life.

9.) Why is drinking legal if it is so dangerous?

ANSWER: The social acceptance of drinking can make alcohol addiction hard to spot. Despite its legal status, alcohol’s potential for abuse opens users up to many health risks and possible addiction. Alcohol abuse has numerous negative consequences. In addition to deaths from liver disease and alcohol overdose, drunk driving claims thousands of lives every year.

10.) How common is underage drinking?

ANSWER: In the United States, 35% of teens report they are currently drinking alcohol on a regular basis. According to the most recent statistics, approximately 78% of high school seniors drink regularly.

11.) Why do some people act differently when drinking different types of alcohol?

ANSWER: Many people believe that different kinds of alcohol evoke certain responses. For example, drinking tequila makes you crazy, while drinking beer makes you more relaxed. This belief is false; there is nothing in tequila that makes teens more daring and nothing in beer that makes a person more relaxed. The only difference is alcohol content and a person’s expectancy of how they should act when drinking. The alcohol content of liquor ranges from 15.9% - 90% alcohol, while most beers are 4% - 13% alcohol. This elevated alcohol content means that less liquor is required than beer to be considered a standard drink: 1.25 ounces of liquor has the same amount of alcohol as a 12-ounce beer.

12.) What is binge drinking?

ANSWER: Binge drinking has become fairly common in the United States. This is when an adult male has five or more drinks and an adult female has four or more drinks, all in a time span of about two hours. It is very dangerous and highly irresponsible to binge drink. According to recent statistics, 33% of high school students are binge drinking.

13.) Why do some people become addicted to alcohol?

ANSWER: No one decides to become addicted to alcohol. There are many factors that contribute to how someone might develop alcoholism, which can include biological, psychological, and social components. To put it simply, repetitive and irresponsible use of alcohol can change the chemical composition of the brain. This misuse can begin psychologically as a way of trying to cope with tough situations, or it could be introduced as part of a lifestyle or social change like going away to college. However, once the brain chemistry is changed, the use of alcohol becomes a biological need.

14.) Doesn’t drinking coffee sober you up more quickly?

ANSWER: Drinking coffee does not make you sober or lessen the time it will take for you to become sober. The only way to become sober is time. It takes time for the body — specifically the liver — to metabolize the alcohol it has taken in. On average, it takes the liver about one hour to metabolize one standard drink.

15.) How many ounces are in a standard alcoholic beverage?

ANSWER: These amounts vary because all three types of drinks differ in alcohol content:

Beer: 12 ounces

Wine: 5 ounces

Liquor: 1.25 ounces

16.) How does drinking affect your health?

ANSWER: Alcohol is a drug that affects many of the organs and functioning systems in our bodies. Alcohol impacts the liver more than any other organ because it is the liver’s job to metabolize alcohol. The misuse of alcohol also creates a variety of problems for the brain, heart, pancreas, and immune system, and it can put a person at a higher risk for developing certain cancers.

17.) Why do some people get drunk so quickly when drinking certain types of alcohol?

ANSWER: All alcohol is not created equal. Often people don’t understand this and consume too much, which results in the feeling of being drunk. When mixing a drink, for example, most people will pour some liquor into one-third to one-half of the bottom of the glass and then top it with water or a mixer. Regardless of the amount of non-alcoholic mixing components that are added, always keep in mind the vast differences in the percentages of alcohol in beer, wine, and liquor as noted in this chart:

Beer: 4% - 13% alcohol

Wine: 4% - 15.9% alcohol

Liquor: 15.9% - 90% alcohol

18.) How early do I start talking to my young child about alcohol/drugs?

ANSWER: Conversations need to be early, often, and age-appropriate. Keep it simple and consistent. Parents should take advantage of teachable moments. Make your kids feel part of the conversation.

19.) At what age do you think children today admit to having their first experience with alcohol?

ANSWER: I think this will surprise you. The average today is about 8 years old. This is a sharp increase from the 1990s when most teens admitted to first drinking at 12 years old.

20.) How do I encourage my pre-teen or teen to fend off peer pressure?

ANSWER: Look for strength in your child and attach it to your conversation. For example, say, “Remember when ‘Jeremy and Jimmy’ wanted you to shoplift at the mall and you said ‘no way’? Well, that took an incredible amount of courage for you to stand up for what is right. Your Mom and I are so proud of you.”

If you turn a potentially negative situation into a positive one, your child won’t feel like a victim, and he or she will gain the confidence to continue doing what’s right. Find a positive in every situation, and point it out to your child along with your clear, no-use message. “As a family, we follow the law, and the law is clear that drinking before the age of 21 is illegal,” is a good phrase to use.

Keep it simple. Teach kids to just say, “No, thank you” or “Maybe later”, when offered something to drink. Remind your children that most kids don’t drink.

21.) What are the new designer alcohol or drug trends for kids that I need to be most worried about?

ANSWER: Acknowledging that trends are always changing is a great first step to staying informed. Parents should feel empowered to ask questions and initiate conversations often about drugs and alcohol. Parents can ask, “What kind of designer drugs are you hearing about at your school?”. Or “I heard that some of the kids at your school are using alcohol. How do you feel about that?” When parents see something on the news about a new designer drug, consider it a teachable moment and ask your child if they have heard about it.

22.) How do I know whether my child is using alcohol/drugs?

ANSWER: Listen to your instincts! If you feel or think something is wrong, then something is wrong. You may not know what it is, but if you believe something is wrong, definitely investigate. Start by talking with your child and sharing the observable behaviors you are seeing while expressing your concern in a loving and supportive tone. Remember, no one loves your child more than you do – make sure your child understands how important he or she is to you. Be calm, be clear, be consistent with your message, and never give up.


23.) Is addiction a choice?

ANSWER: This is a great question! Technically the first time is a choice. However, science has proven that addiction is actually a disease. Simply put you may be an addict and just not know it. This is often referred to as a "genetic pre-disposition". Science says that a person's family history contributes to addiction.

24.) What does genetic pre-disposition mean?

ANSWER: It simply means that you may have inherited traits from your family that make you more vulnerable to addiction. Think of it this way, you may be an addict or alcoholic and not even know it. The easiest way to avoid activating your pre-disposition is to never make the choice to experiment the first time.

25.) Can I become addicted after one use?

ANSWER: Very good question. Yes, there are some very powerful substances in the world that if you were to take knowingly or unknowingly that you could become addicted the very first time. In the words of former First Lady Nancy Reagan "JUST SAY NO". It is absolutely never safe to experiment!

26.) What led my child to use alcohol or drugs?

ANSWER: Childhood trauma or adverse childhood experiences have an increased risk of developing a substance use disorder. Turning to substances after trauma is also called “ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking” behavior. It’s so important to talk to your kids! If they are struggling with trauma or mental health issues make sure you get professional help to address the adverse childhood events, understanding and working through the trauma will help your child to heal.

Sometimes it was simply peer pressure. Having an open dialog with your children where they feel safe should help you figure out why your child used a substance.

27.) How many people die each year from drug-related overdoses?

ANSWER: The chart below shows the total number of overdose deaths since 2015.

28.) What can I do to help protect my child?

ANSWER: Family time is always time well spent! It is important that parents recognize their role in prevention. Family meals are one of the greatest tools a family can use to protect kids from risky behavior, including alcohol and drug use. If you are not having any family meals, then start by having one per week, with a goal of seven family meals per week. Breakfast and lunch count, too!

In addition, parents of pre-teens and teens should create a code word or phrase for their child to use if they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation and they need a safe way out. For example, your child could call you to say, “Dad, my migraine headache is coming back.” Then you as the parent will quietly ask key questions: “Are you afraid?” and “Are you where you said you were going to be?” and “I’m on my way to get you. Do you want to stay on the phone until I arrive? If not, I will text you when I am outside, and you can meet me.” These options will give your child a safe way to bow out of a situation without generating unwanted attention.

29.) If I suspect my child is using, where do I turn for help?

ANSWER: If you are concerned that your child is under the influence of a controlled substance, call 911 or take them to the emergency room. Seeking immediate medical attention can lower their risk of a possible overdose, or long-term side effects that could impact their well-being.

Seek counseling from a state or private practice. Addiction is a disease and must be treated as so.

30. Is marijuana illegal?

ANSWER: Although 31 states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana, it remains illegal under federal law. States where marijuana is now legal face a number of obstacles when dealing with the manufacture, processing, and sale of cannabis.

31. What is medical marijuana?

ANSWER: There is no such thing as "medical marijuana". The term "medical marijuana" is a misrepresentation. The more appropriate term is "medical cannabis". The marijuana plant contains over 100 properties that have medical promise. We must trust Science when it comes to cannabis.

32. Does cannabis have medical promise?

ANSWER: Yes. According to U. S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, the cannabis plant has many compounds that have shown promise for the treatment of certain medical conditions. With time Science will clarify some of the concerns surrounding the use of cannabis in the medical field.

33.) Is it legal to infuse CBD or THC into edible products?

ANSWER: No! The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act prohibit the addition of CBD or THC into any edible product consumed by animals or humans. This makes the manufacture, transport, and sale of these types of items illegal under federal law. The State of Alabama does not have any laws or regulations that allow any agency to enforce federal regulations on these items.

FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD)

34.) Is it illegal, in interstate commerce, to sell food (including any animal food or feed) to which THC or CBD has been added?

ANSWER: Yes. Under section 301(ll) of the FD&C Act [21 U.S.C. § 331(ll)], it is prohibited. FDA has therefore concluded that it is prohibited under federal law to introduce or deliver for introduction into interstate commerce any food (including any animal food or feed) to which THC or CBD has been added. These items are popping up all around the country in stores, but are illegal under federal law.

35.) What is FDA’s position on cannabis and cannabis-derived ingredients in cosmetics?

ANSWER: A cosmetic is defined in 201(i) as "(1) articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body or any part thereof for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance, and (2) articles intended for use as a component of any such articles; except that such term shall not include soap."

Under the FD&C Act, cosmetic products and ingredients are not subject to premarket approval by FDA, except for most color additives. Certain cosmetic ingredients are prohibited or restricted by regulation, but currently, that is not the case for any cannabis or cannabis-derived ingredients. Ingredients not specifically addressed by regulation must nonetheless comply with all applicable requirements, and no ingredient – including a cannabis or cannabis-derived ingredient – can be used in a cosmetic if it causes the product to be adulterated or misbranded in any way. A cosmetic generally is adulterated if it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to users under the conditions of use prescribed in the labeling or under such conditions of use as are customary or usual (section 601(a) of the FD&C Act [21 U.S.C. § 361(a)]).

If a product is intended to affect the structure or function of the body, or to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat or prevent disease, it is a drug, or possibly both a cosmetic and a drug, even if it affects the appearance.

FDA can take action if it has information that an ingredient or cosmetic product is unsafe for consumers. Consumers can report adverse events associated with cosmetic products via the FDA’s MedWatch reporting system, either online or by phone at 1-800-FDA-1088, or by contacting your nearest FDA district office consumer complaint coordinator. For more information, please see the FDA’s webpage on how to report a cosmetic-related complaint.

36.) If human and pet food products containing CBD and THC are illegal according to the Food and Drug Administration, why are these products openly being sold inside convenience stores and at other retailers?

ANSWER: Local law enforcement does not enforce federal law. The FDA does not have inspectors currently enforcing any of its federal regulations governing the manufacture, distribution, or sale of these products. It is buyer beware when purchasing and using these products. We receive reports weekly about overdoes and illnesses from these types of products.

37.) What is Delta 8 and is it legal?

ANSWER: Delta-8 THC, has also become known as "weed light" or "diet weed," and in some instances "CBD on crack," due to the "high" they produce.

Delta 8 that comes from an organic hemp plant that has not been altered or synthesized in any way may be legal in certain forms in the United States per the 2018 U. S. Farm Bill. However, it is illegal to add Delta 8 CBD or THC to food products because it violates the Food and Drug Administration Cosmetics Act. In addition to violating the FD&C Act, the DEA believes Delta 8 violates the Federal Analogue Act. See 21 U.S.C. § 802(32)(A)(ii).

Last year, the DEA indicated in its Interim Final Rule that it considers such products to be "synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinol," and listed Delta-8 THC in its "Orange Book" as an alternative name for "tetrahydrocannabinol" (THC), with Delta-9-THC. If any part of a Hemp plant is synthetically altered in any way this violates the Alabama synthetic drugs law passed in 2011.

The following states have banned the sale of all Delta 8 products: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Washington. At the present time, 20 states have banned Delta 8.


38.) How old do you have to be before you can legally smoke or vape?

ANSWER: In 2020, Congress raised the legal age for smoking and vaping to 21 years of age. Previously the age was set at the state level and it ranged from 18 - 21 years around the country. There was no grand-father rule for this law. Code of Alabama, 1975 28-11-1.

39.) Are Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS Devices) for vaping safe?

ANSWER: Short answer. First, No! The process of vaping is dangerous on many levels. Secondly, these devices tend to overheat and cause serious physical injury and in some cases death. Third, the vaping process creates new health issues and exacerbates pre-existing conditions. Lastly, these products are not regulated and many of these products contain synthetic drugs which create a whole different series of health considerations.

40.) Is vaping safer than smoking?

ANSWER: No, vaping is not a safer alternative to smoking. Companies used this false narrative to promote vaping products in an effort to replace lost revenue from the reduction of traditional smokers in society. Truth, not one company filed for consideration with the FDA to introduce vaping as a smoke cessation product. These companies intentionally targeted the youth with flavored vape products and succeeded in creating an epidemic in a few short years.

41.) What does the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say about vaping?

ANSWER: In 2018, the U.S. Surgeon General declared youth vaping an "epidemic". Over 3.6 million youth reported using e-cigarettes in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Vaping products, particularly the ones containing THC, were linked to an outbreak of lung injuries between 2019 and 2020. Diacetyl, a chemical found in many flavored e-cigarettes, also causes "popcorn lung," a severe lung disease. According to the CDC, around 80% of high school and middle school students who vape are using flavored e-cigarettes.

42.) What is EVALI?

ANSWER: EVALI stands for E-Cigarette or Vaping use-Associated Lung Injury. It was originally known as VAPI (vaping-associated pulmonary illness). The new name is in response to a growing number of severe lung illness cases related to using e-cigarette and vaping products, the first being identified in 2019.


43. Can a graduated driver's license holder in the State of Alabama operate a motor vehicle after midnight?

ANSWER: Yes, but they must be under the supervision of a parent or guardian. They are not authorized to operate by themselves or with other minors.

44.) Can a graduated driver's license holder in the State of Alabama have more than one passenger in his or her motor vehicle?

ANSWER: A 16-year-old driver may have one passenger that is not related to them in their vehicle. Family members are exempt from this restriction.

45.) Can a person ride on the back of a truck in the State of Alabama?

ANSWER: No! All passengers must be buckled up regardless of their age or seating position in a motor vehicle.

46.) How many people between the age of 15 and 24 died in traffic crashes in 2020?

ANSWER: 6,922


47.) What is social media?

ANSWER: The term social media refers to a computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through virtual networks and communities. Social media is internet-based and gives users quick electronic communication of content, such as personal information, documents, videos, and photos. Examples: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tik-Tok, and others.

Tik-Tok is the most downloaded application in the world. At last report, it had been downloaded over 2 billion times.

48.) How can I protect my child on social media?

ANSWER: If you allow your child to have social media accounts, keep tabs on your child. Monitor their social media activities and be conscious of your child's contacts and friends online. Do not allow your child to have unfeathered access to their devices. Remember your child's safety is paramount. Your child does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your home. Stay involved and have conversations about current trends.

49.) Why is social media a problem with kids today?

ANSWER: Kids today use Social Media resources to facilitate bad behavior and other self-destructive trends. Kids use social media to harass, annoy, and alarm others to the point of serious physical injury and death. There are documented cases where kids used their access to the internet and social media to cyberbully others to the point of suicide. Kids today have the mindset that they are untouchable and do not understand that their actions come with serious consequences.

50.) What are "Teen Challenges"?

ANSWER: "Teen Challenges" are internet-based dares where kids take unreasonable risks with a total disregard for personal or public safety. Over the years the internet "Teen Challenges" have grown increasingly more dangerous and destructive. These challenges range from destroying personal property to self-inflicted bodily harm.

51.) What is sexting?

ANSWER: Sexting is the transmission of sexually explicit content between persons under the age of 18 in the State of Alabama.

  • A person under the age of 18 who takes photos of his/her body is guilty of a Class A felony. Class A felonies carry a sentence of 20 to 99 years.

  • A person under the age of 18 who transmits a nude image of himself/herself to another person is guilty of a Class B felony. Class B felonies carry a sentence of 10 - 20 years.

  • A person under the age of 18 who receives and knowingly possesses a nude image of a person under 18 years old is guilty of a Class C felony. Class C felonies carry a sentence of 2 - 10 years.