Teen alcohol abuse is a significant problem in the United States; alcohol is the most commonly abused substance among teens in junior high and high school. The consequences of under age drinking reverberate through the whole family.
Statistics for Underage Drinking
- 33% of teens by the age of 15 have had at least one drink.
- 60% of teens by the age of 18 have had at least one drink.
- In 2015, 7.7 million teenagers between the ages of 12-20 claimed to have drunk beyond “just a few sips” of alcohol in the months before the survey.
Teens are More Likely to Binge Drink
Teens don’t tend to drink as often or as much as adults, but when they do drink, it is common for them to binge. In fact, 90% of their alcohol consumption occurs during their binge drinking sessions.
- 5.1 million teenagers say they binge drink at least once in the month before the survey. Binge drinking is considered to be 3-4 or more drinks for guys and 3 or more drinks for girls, in a 2 hour period.
- 1.3 million teens report binge drinking 5 or more days in the month before the survey.
- Binge drinking increases with age. Only .7% of 12-13-year-old boys report binge drinking, 3.5% of 14-15-year-old boys report binge drinking, and 13% of boys 16-17 years old binge drink.
- Younger girls binge drink more than boys. 0.8% of girls age 12-13 report binge drinking, 4.3% of 14-15-year-old girls say they binge drink, and 12.4% of 16-17-year-old girls report binge drinking.
Teenage Drinking Leads to Injuries and Death
- The CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) used data from 2006-2010 to estimate that alcohol contributes or is a factor in the deaths of approximately 4,358 teenagers each year including:
- 1,580 deaths from vehicle crashes
- 1,269 from homicides
- 245 as a result of alcohol poisoning, falls, burns, or drowning
- 492 deaths are a result of suicides
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported in a 2014 study that in 2011 about 188,000 teens (12-20) visited an emergency room with alcohol-related injuries.
The Warning Signs of Underage Drinking
- Dramatic and prolonged changes in her mood. Watch out for increased anger and irritability
- Behavioral or academic problems at school, especially when they come “out of the blue.”
- Rebelliousness behavior
- Pronounced changes in friends
- Lethargic behavior, especially in the mornings, sometimes combined with coordination problems
- Lack of interest in activities that your teen used to enjoy
- Finding alcohol in your daughter’s room
- Smelling alcohol on your son’s breath
- Problems concentrating or remembering
- Slurred speech
If you are concerned that your teenager may be struggling with alcohol abuse, we are here to help. We have school-based programs, and we are here to answer your questions. You can call us at 907-789-4733 and talk to our assessment personal who can point you in the right direction for the next step. If you believe your teen may be in crisis, we can help, you can reach us at 907-789-7654.