Teens will always have the urge to experiment, and with that urge there will always be some bad choices and risky behaviors. Teenage alcohol abuse statistics tell us that by senior year in high school, nearly three-quarters of teens have at least tried drinking. Teens turn to alcohol out of curiosity and because it is easier to access than illegal drugs. Experimentation is a part of growing up, but underage drinking is risky, dangerous and harmful.
Drinking facts and statistics show us that by the 8th grade, nearly one-third of teens have used alcohol. Two years later, more than half of high school sophomores have abused alcohol. One-quarter of high school seniors have binged on alcohol, which means having more than five drinks in one sitting. Eight percent of high school students admit that they have driven drunk, while 24 percent say they have gotten into a car with a drunk teen behind the wheel.
How Harmful Is Underage Drinking?
From teenage alcohol use facts, we know that teens are drinking and that many of them are making bad choices about how much they drink and what they do when drunk. The most obvious danger associated with underage drinking is the possibility of driving under the influence. Drunk driving causes numerous injuries and fatalities every year. Driving while drunk is not the only risky choice underage drinkers make. Teens who drink are also more likely than their sober peers to have other types of accidents, to have unprotected sex and to attempt suicide.
In addition to the immediate problems that drinking can cause, teens are also at risk for health problems when they drink. The teenage brain is still under development and drinking can negatively impact memory and thinking. Drinking also impacts the liver and teens who drink have been shown to have liver damage. Underage drinkers going through puberty also put themselves at risk of stunting their development.
How Can Teen Drinking Be Prevented?
We know from drug and alcohol facts and statistics that underage drinking is a real problem and that it has serious consequences. It is important for adults to figure out ways to prevent teens from drinking, making bad choices and experiencing the health impacts of drinking. Schools take on a large part of this responsibility and provide education and programing to show students just how harmful alcohol can be.
Schools can only do so much, though. The majority of the responsibility for educating young people and giving them positive values lies with parents. Parents of teens have more influence over their children than anyone else and have the power to prevent drinking and its consequences. By talking to teens, parents open the door for conversations about alcohol and its dangers. The more parents talk to and educate their kids, the less likely they will be to experiment with alcohol.
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