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Alcohol and Youth Facts

  •   Drunk teenager
    Alcohol is a leading cause of death among youth, particularly teenagers. It contributes substantially to adolescent motor vehicle crashes, other traumatic injuries, suicide, date rape, and family and school problems.1
  • Every day, on average, 11,318 American youth (12 to 20 years of age) try alcohol for the first time, compared with 6,488 for marijuana; 2,786 for cocaine; and 386 for heroin.2
  • Alcohol is by far the most used and abused drug among America’s teenagers.  According to a national survey, nearly one third (31.5%) of all high school students reported hazardous drinking (5+ drinks in one setting) during the 30 days preceding the survey.3
  • Children who are drinking alcohol by 7th grade are more likely to report academic problems, substance use, and delinquent behavior in both middle school and high school.  By young adulthood, early alcohol use was associated with employment problems, other substance abuse, and criminal and other violent behavior.4
  • Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin drinking at 21.5
  • 1,400 (3.84 a day) college students in the U.S. are killed each year as a result of alcohol-related injuries.6

6National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, College Drinking Hazardous to Campus Communities Task Force Calls for Research-Based Prevention Programs,  www.niaaa.nih.gov/press/2002/college.htm, released April 9, 2002.