Under Age Drinking

Denae Rivera, Reporter

Kids are experimenting with alcohol at earlier ages than ever before. Slightly more than half of young adults in the U.S. between the ages of 12 and 20 have consumed alcohol at least once. Teens are more vulnerable to addiction because their need for pleasure reaches adult proportions well before their capacity for sound decision making does.

In past generations, boys were much more likely than girls to experiment with alcohol in their teens, but girls are catching up. In 2009, 58% of all males ages 12 and older were current drinkers, higher than the rate for females (47%). But in the youngest group (ages 12 to 17), the percentage of current drinkers was nearly the same (15% of boys, 14% of girls). (http://www.sadd.org/stats.htm)

People who have their first drink at age 14 or younger are six times more likely to develop alcohol problems than those who don’t try alcohol until the legal drinking age.

There are many dangers drinking while still young.  One out of various dangers is that alcohol itself is a major factor in fatal automobile crashes. About one-third of drivers ages 21 to 24 who die in car crashes have a blood alcohol level that is over the legal limit. Another hazardous thing is drinking may have lasting and severe health effects. Some researchers believe that heavy drinking at this age, when the brain is still developing, may cause lasting impairments in brain functions such as memory, coordination, and motor skills. Drinking can also lead to sexual assaults and rape. Each year, approximately 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.

All teens should be provided with this information because it could possibly change something in their lives, or a their life in general.