Alcohol and drug use statistics in teenagers show a disturbing fact: teens are drinking and abusing drugs in high numbers. Drugs, both illegal and prescription, are dangerous and addictive, but what most teens are getting into is underage drinking. The consequences of drinking alcohol can include adverse health problems, accidents, legal problems, academic difficulties, and even addiction. Adults, and especially parents of teens, need to be aware of the extent of the problem, the consequences and how to talk to their kids about drinking.
Teen Drinking Statistics
The facts about teen drinking are disturbing, but important. If you have a teenager and you think that your child would never drink, you could be mistaken. By 8th grade, nearly one-third of young teens have already tried drinking alcohol. By their sophomore year, more than half have been drinking, and among seniors, nearly three-quarters are drinking alcohol to some extent. Eleven percent of all alcohol consumed in the U.S. is by underage drinkers and the average age that boys first drink is 11. For girls the average age is 13.
The Dangers Of Teen Drinking
Alcohol facts for teenagers are scary, but the consequences are even more terrifying. Twenty-three percent of high school seniors binge drink, which means consuming four or five drinks in one sitting. Binging is extremely dangerous. Teens that binge get drunk very quickly and can have accidents, even when cars are not involved. They also risk making bad choices, which can lead to unintended pregnancies, abuse and assault. Binge drinking can even lead to death by alcohol poisoning.
Even for teens that don’t binge drink there are serious consequences for drinking when underage. They can get in trouble with the law. They may get into cars with drunk drivers. In fact, nearly one-quarter of high school students say they have been passengers with a driver who had been drinking. Teen drinkers also put themselves at risk for future problems. Teens who drink are more likely than their peers to try drugs, to commit self-harm and to become addicted to alcohol.
Talking To Your Teen About Drinking
It is crucial that you talk to your teenager about substance abuse in high school and underage drinking. Make it clear that you consider it unacceptable, but also make yourself open to talk. You want your child to come to you if they make a bad choice. Stress the negative consequences of drinking and how it can have impacts that last a lifetime. Share the frightening statistics about drug use, accidents and other adverse consequences of underage drinking. You want your teen to be informed, and maybe just a little scared to drink before reaching the legal age. Preventing drinking in your teen is much easier and less devastating than picking up the pieces after a tragic accident.
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