Teenagers want to fit in. They want to have fun in their formative years. Unfortunately, for many of them, their peers or the media may suggest alcohol as the best way to do so. Though there are some regulations, many commercials and other forms of media present drinking as glamorous and fun. This contributes to the myth that alcohol is fine for teenagers or young adults under 21. However, underage drinking is dangerous. Here are the un-glamorous facts about underage drinking.
Alcohol is the most used and abused drug for youth in the United States. In excess, it kills over 4,300 underage youth per year.
Underage drinkers tend to consume more drinks per session than adults, increasing the health risks and chances of accident. In fact, teens and adults between 12 and 20 drink 11% of all the alcohol in the United States. More than 90% of that comes in the form of binge-drinking.
In 2015, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that of high school students, in a 30-day period:
- 33% drank alcohol
- 18% binge-drank alcohol
- 8% drove after drinking
- 20% rode with a drunk driver
Risks of Underage Drinking
Teenagers who drink alcohol have a higher risk of
- Legal problems, such as arrest for driving drunk
- Unprotected sexual activity
- Physical and sexual assault
- Alcohol-related injuries, such as burns or falls, or injuries from a crash
- Abusing other drugs
- Damage to brain development
- School problems
- Social problems
- Alcohol dependence (those who start at 15 or younger are six times more likely to develop dependence)
Do you keep alcohol in your home? Make sure it stays out of your teens’ access. More than that, reduce your teens’ exposure to alcohol advertising and make sure they know the facts. Make sure that your teenagers know the risks of underage drinking. Teaching younger generations about the dangerous of early drinking–especially binge-drinking–may help remove the glamour of alcohol and keep them from getting addicted. Show them that they don’t have to buy into an advertiser’s message. You’ll have less risk of your children getting into harmful habits.