Tag Archives: alcohol abuse

Underage Drinking

Even though drinking by anyone under the age of 21 is illegal in the U.S., people aged 12 to 20 years drank 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States this year. Of this amount more than 90% was consumed in the form of binge drinking. Binge drinking is typically defined as five or more drinks consumed on one occasion and is one way to determine heavy alcohol use. On average 28.3% of underage drinkers (10.8 million persons aged 12 to 20) used alcohol in the past month. Research has shown that underage youth drink more than those of a legal age (4.9 drinks vs. 2.8 drinks).

Legal Drinking Age

  • The legal drinking age for different countries varies dramatically, from 0 to 21
  • 10 countries have no minimum drinking age
  • 13 countries have a minimum drinking age of 16
  • 43 countries have a minimum drinking age of 18
  • 1 country has a minimum drinking age of 19
  • 2 have a minimum drinking age of 20
  • The U.S. has the highest minimum drinking age at 21, but there are many exceptions to this general rule, that lead to underage drinking. 

Drinking and Driving

A yearly average of 4.2 million young people between the ages of 16 and 20 reported driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs during the past year.

Among high school students in the last 30 days:

  • 45% drank some amount of alcohol.
  • 26% binge drink.
  • 11% drove after drinking alcohol.
  • 29% rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.

Underage, teen drivers are more likely than older drivers to ride with an intoxicated driver and are more likely to drive after drinking alcohol or using drugs. The number of deaths in motor vehicle accidents involving alcohol, account for 38.6% of all traffic deaths. Reports show 6,002 young people ages 16-20 died in motor vehicle crashes in 2003.

Underage Drinking Deaths

Approximately 5,000 deaths of people under the age of 21 are the result of underage drinking each year:

  • 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes
  • 1,600 as a result of homicides
  • 300 from suicide
  • Hundreds more die from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drownings while they are intoxicated 

This is a big concern because reports show there were approximately 7.2 million people under the legal drinking age who were binge alcohol users in the last month.

Teen Alcohol Use

Teen alcohol use, underage drinking, and teen alcoholism info from : SAMHSA National Household Survey on Drug Abuse Stats

 

Underage Drinking Stats for all youth, ages 12-17:

7.2 million adolescents drank at least once in the past year
2.7 million teens drank alcohol about once a month or more in the past year
1 million youths drank at least once a week or more in the past year
Girls were as likely as boys their age to drink alcohol
Hispanic youth were as likely as white non-Hispanic youth to be current drinkers
Black non-Hispanic youth were the least likely of the racial/ethnic groups to be current drinkers
66% thought drinking 4 or 5 alcoholic drinks nearly every day was a great risk
47% thought drinking 4 or 5 alcoholic drinks once or twice a week was a great risk

Teen Alcohol Use for all youth, ages 12-17:

13% had at least one serious problem related to underage drinking in the past year
6% had built up tolerance to the effects of alcohol
3% reported psychological problems related to their teen drinking
1% reported health problems related to their teen alcohol use

Youth, ages 12-17, who drank any alcohol in the past year:

39% had at least one serious problem related to drinking in the past year
18% had built up tolerance to the effects of alcohol
8% reported psychological problems related to their teen drinking
4% reported health problems related to their teen alcohol use

Youth, ages 12-17, who drank alcohol heavily (5 or more drinks on 5 or more occasions in the past month):

77% had at least one serious problem related to underage drinking in the past year
63% had built up tolerance to the effects of alcohol
20% reported psychological problems related to their teen drinking
12% reported health problems related to their teen drinking

Young adults, ages 18-20, who drank heavily (5 or more drinks on 5 or more occasions in the past month):

66% drove under the influence of alcohol in the past year
42% often drove or rode without wearing a seat belt

Young adults, ages 12-20, rates of teen alcohol use in 1998:

Among youth ages 12-20, the rates of teen alcohol use were highest among those 18-20, among whites, male and among those living in the North Central region of the United States. The lowest rates of teen alcohol use were among blacks, females, and youth living in large metropolitan areas.

The rates of current, binge, and heavy teen alcohol use did not change significantly between 1994-1998. Rates were 30.6%, 15.2%, and 6.9%, respectively, for current, binge, and heavy alcohol use.