- Each year, around 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking; this includes about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1,600 as a result of murders, 300 from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drowning.
- In 2003, the average age of first use of alcohol was about 14, compared to about 17 1/2 in 1965.
- Young people between the ages of 12 and 20 are more likely to use alcohol than use tobacco or illegal drugs, including marijuana.
- Boys are more likely than girls to begin drinking before age 13. The earlier underage drinking begins, the greater the risk for developing a serious alcohol-related problem, including addiction.
- 38% of girls age 12 to 17 have used alcohol at least once. Of these, nearly 19% are current users and 7% are binge drinkers (have consumed 5 or more drinks in a row at least once in the past month).
- Overall, male high school students are a lot more likely than female high school students to report episodic heavy drinking.
- Nearly 90 percent of 10th graders and 75 percent of 8th graders think that alcohol is either “fairly easy” or “very easy” for them to get.
- Tips for Parents…
- Try to be there after school. A peak time for drug use by youth is between 3:00 and 6:00 PM. If your child will be with friends, make sure there is adult supervision.
- Provide opportunities for a youth to talk about what’s going on at school. Be clear that using alcohol, tobacco or other drugs is not an acceptable way to manage stress or fit in with a new group.