Statistics on underage drinking paint a picture that isn’t so pretty. Teens are drinking and they are paying the consequences for it. There are a number of reasons why teens should not be using alcohol. Young people are still developing and alcohol harms their brains. It’s illegal for them to drink, and doing so can get them into real trouble. Perhaps most frightening is that drinking leads to bad choices and accidents with consequences that reverberate far into the future.
Alcohol Facts And Statistics
Alcohol is the number one substance most commonly abused by young people. This makes sense when you consider access. For most teens, getting alcohol is as simple as going into a parent’s liquor cabinet or getting fake identification. Alcohol is a legal substance, which makes it much easier to get than illicit drugs and other substances of abuse.
The statistics demonstrate just how much teens are drinking. Thirty percent of eighth graders, most of whom are 14 years old, have already tried drinking. By the senior year of high school, that percentage jumps up to 71. Binge drinking, a particularly dangerous practice of consuming five or more drinks in a row, is becoming more popular. A quarter of high school seniors report binge drinking.
Drinking And Driving
One of the most dangerous things a young person, or anyone, can do when drinking is getting behind the wheel of a car. We all know how risky it is and yet young people still do it. Eight percent of high school students admit to driving drunk, but this statistic is probably underreported. Teens aren’t just exercising bad choices by driving while under the influence, they also make the choice to let someone else drive drunk. Twenty-four percent of students say they were passengers with a drunk driver.
The Consequences Of Underage Drinking
Teen alcohol abuse comes with a number of serious consequences. Drinking at a young age puts teenagers at greater risk for other kinds of substance abuse. For instance, a teen who drinks is 50 percent more likely to try cocaine than peers who don’t drink. Those who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times as likely to get addicted later than those who did not drink before the age of 21.
Drinking also causes accidents and injuries to young people every day. Teens that drink alcohol are much more likely than their peers to engage in self-harm. This includes cutting and attempts at suicide. Underage drinking is also deadly. The top three causes of death for young people in the U.S. are car crashes, suicides and homicides. Alcohol is the number one factor in each of these.
Underage drinking is serious. It has lasting consequences for many teens. Some have to live with the guilt of having killed someone accidentally. Others suffer legal problems that haunt them for years. Still others will struggle with addiction for the rest of their lives. If you have a teen, be aware of the risks and talk to your teen about alcohol.
If You Believe Your Teen Has A Problem With Alcohol Or Drugs – Don’t Hesitate To Call Us – We Are Here To Help!