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Teen Alcohol Use Today

Drunk Driving and Teens





Over half of the youth in America between the ages of 12 and 20 have experimented with drinking alcohol. Binge drinking is common in youth as they typically do it in settings away from parental figures. Underage drinking often leads to car accidents and can lead to alcohol poisoning, due to the binge factor. Further, underage drinking can lead to addiction as an adult.

Youth Are Drinking Earlier Than Ever

The average age for a girl in America to try drinking is 13, for boys, it’s 11. Underage drinking isn’t just a problem in the US however, it is also widespread in many other countries. Risky behaviors often accompany underage drinking and it can also lead to depression and anxiety.

Common risky behaviors associated with underage drinking are as follows:

  • binge drinking
  • driving while intoxicated
  • suicide
  • unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners
  • violent behavior
  • addiction later in life
Kids in America are drinking earlier than ever before, with a recent national survey finding that over half of kids between 12 and 20 have tried alcohol. Previously, boys were much more likely to drink at an early age than girls. In 2015, statistics showed that 58 percent of boys 12 and over were drinking, while it was 47 percent for girls. However, in the youngest age group from 12 to 17, the rate was nearly the same at 15 percent for boys and 14 for girls.

While many youth may stop drinking or reduce drinking by the time they leave college and become employed, the risk of becoming a problem drinker remains. Those who start drinking at age 14 or earlier are six times more inclined to become a problem drinker.

Dangers of Underage Drinking

Even though kids are starting to drink earlier than ever, the amount of problem drinkers is highest among the age group of 18 and 25. The use and abuse of alcohol in this age group presents a number of dangers.

Alcohol is a large and growing factor in car accidents. One-third of young drivers between the age of 21 and 24 who died in car accidents in 2009 had levels of alcohol in their blood over the legal limit.
Drinking can cause lasting health problems. Drinking at a young age when the brain and body are still developing can create lasting health problems. Memory and motor skills may be impaired and puberty may be delayed in girls. Further, it can lead to alcohol addiction or other addiction later in life.
Drinking increases the probability of sexual assault. Every year, nearly 100,000 students in the college age group of 18 to 24 are victims of sexual assault stemming from alcohol abuse.

Teens or young adults who are abusing alcohol should seek help at an inpatient alcohol treatment center. This type of treatment provides counseling and medical support for withdrawal symptoms. Trying to stop abusing alcohol individually is often extremely difficult.

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