[This article is part of a youth ministry series we have been writing about for years. Click the link to check out all of the other articles we have here.]
While alcohol is traditionally seen as a substance that is not always associated with illicit substances, the impact that it can have on individuals of any age can be long-lasting and more fatal at times than drugs, yet is more normalized and therefore more risky with teenagers. While most areas have a specific age when alcohol is allowed for drinking, underage drinking is still a concern. To help educate youth pastors and community members to develop awareness, we want to share 10 facts to know about teens and alcohol.
- Although the purchase of alcohol by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States. [CDC]
- In 2018, 19% of youth aged 12 to 20 years drink alcohol and 12% reported binge drinking in the past 30 days. [SAMHSA]
- Another study reports 52.1% of seniors have drank in the last year, 37.7% of 10th graders and 19.3% of 8th grades have also drank in that time frame. [DrugAbuse.gov]
- Based on data from 2006–2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, on average, alcohol is a factor in the deaths of 4,358 young people under age 21 each year. [USA.gov]
- Youth who drink alcohol are more likely to experience higher school absences and poor grades, fighting, legal problems, unwanted and unprotected sexual activity, disruption in physical and sexual development, and a higher risk of suicide. [CDC]
- In 2013, there were approximately 119,000 emergency rooms visits by persons aged 12 to 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol. [CDC]
- Teens drink for a variety of reasons. Some teens want to experience new things. Others feel pressured into drinking by peers. And some are looking for a way to cope with stress or other problems. Unfortunately, drinking will only make any problems a person has already worse, not better.
- 4.3 million young people reported binge drinking (for males 5 or more drinks and for females 4 or more drinks on the same occasion within a few hours) at least once in the past month. [SAMHSA]
- In the United States, a standard drink is one that contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol, which is found in:
- 12 ounces of beer with about 5 percent alcohol content
- 5 ounces of wine with about 12 percent alcohol content
- 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits with about 40 percent alcohol content
- What is binge drinking for teenagers?
- For boys:
- Ages 9–13: About 3 drinks
- Ages 14–15: About 4 drinks
- Ages 16–17: About 5 drinks
- For girls:
- Ages 9–17: About 3 drinks
What other facts should we consider adding to this list?