Let’s take a look at some underage drinking statistics. After all, everyone knows underage drinking is a bad thing, but what are the real consequences of underage drinking?
To begin with, underage drinking costs the U.S. more than $58 billion per year. Where does all this money go? Health care, law enforcement, rehabilitation, education, traffic safety, court costs… the list goes on.
But underage drinking is not just expensive. It’s dangerous. Approximately eight teens die everyday in alcohol-related car crashes.
Underage drinking is addictive. Adolescents who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to become alcoholics than their counterparts who do not begin drinking until the age of 21.
As you can see from some of these underage drinking statistics, the consequences of underage drinking are far-reaching and serious. And the consequences of underage drinking affect us all, directly or indirectly.
Well, three out of four high school seniors report that they have been drunk at least once. Two out of five fifth graders report that they have consumed alcohol. Are you a parent? If you are, then underage drinking may affect you and your family.
Or are you a teacher? These are your students getting drunk.
If you’re not a parent, underage drinking may affect you on the road. Nearly 13% of all fatal car crashes involve alcohol, and of these, 40% involve intoxicated teen drivers.
Are you in law enforcement? Emergency medicine? If so, you’re cleaning up after these accidents.
Whoever you are, you may have had to deal with the death of a loved one due to alcohol. Statistics tell us that about 1700 college students each year die from alcohol-related injuries.
And what about other kids? Studies show that many kids are concerned about the amount of drinking done by their peers. Many college students wish there was less alcohol available on campus.
Do these underage drinking statistics unsettle you? They should.
Everyone talks about prevention, and prevention is important. It’s right and good that we focus attention - and money - on the prevention of underage drinking. But we also need to deal with the consequences of underage drinking. We need to cope with the sometimes devastating results.
So if some of these underage drinking statistics hit close to home, here are some resources that might be of use to you. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
If your teen needs treatment for alcohol abuse, you need to find professional help. To help locate a treatment center, you can call the National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Information Center hotline at 1-800-784-6776. They can refer you to services near you. Of course, you can also look for treatment centers in your local telephone book, or contact your insurance company to see what programs they cover.
If someone you know was killed in a drunk driving accident, you can contact the MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) victim/survivor hotline. (You don’t have to be a mother to call). They will provide grief support over the phone. Just call 1-877-MADD-HELP (1-877-623-3435).
If someone you love, including your child, has a drinking problem, you can get support from a wonderful program called Al-Anon. Al-Anon is a free self-help program modeled on the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. There are meetings all over the U.S. and in other countries as well. You can call 757-563-1600 or look online to find a meeting near you.
We want you to find the help and support you need. Please feel free to write to us if you need more information about resources for support.