Facts About Alcohol
Underage Drinking & Binge Drinking
- Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States.
- Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year.
- Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years old drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States, and more than 90% is consumed in the form of binge drinks.
- Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) to 0.08 grams (g/dL) or more. This happens when men consume five or more drinks, or women consume four or more drinks in about two hours.
Consequences of Underage Drinking
- Youth who drink alcohol are more likely to experience:
- School problems, such as higher absence and poor/failing grades
- Social problems, such as fighting and lack of participation in youth activities
- Legal problems, such as arrest for driving or physically hurting someone while drunk
- Hangovers or illnesses
- Unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity
- Disruption of normal growth and sexual development
- Physical and sexual assault
- Higher risk for suicide and homicide
- Alcohol-related car crashes and other unintentional injuries (i.e. burns, falls, drowning)
- Memory problems
- Abuse of other drugs
- Changes in brain development with potential life-long effects
- Death from alcohol poisoning
Tips for Parents: How to Tell If Your Child is Consuming Alcohol:
- Mood changes: flare-ups of temper, irritability, and defensiveness
- School problems: poor attendance, low grades, and/or recent disciplinary action
- Rebellion against family rules
- Friend changes: switching friends and a reluctance to let you get to know the new friends
- A “nothing matters” attitude: sloppy appearance, a lack of involvement in former interests, and general low energy
- Alcohol presence: finding it in your child’s room or backpack, smelling alcohol on his or her breath
- Physical or mental problems: memory lapses, poor concentration, bloodshot eyes, lack of coordination, or slurred speech