Teenage Alcoholism Facts

        Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited: August 28, 
| 2 Sources

We’d like to share with you some teenage alcoholism facts. These facts point to the gravity of teen alcoholism.

The Problem of Teen Alcoholism

The teenage alcoholism facts tell us that more than three million teens are alcoholics. Several million more engage in problem drinking, such as binge drinking.

The average boy takes his first drink at age 11. The average girl takes hers at age 13. And teens that begin drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to become alcoholics than those who do not drink until they reach the age of 21.

More than 5000 teens die each year in alcohol-related deaths. This includes car crashes, homicides, and suicides.

Underage drinking can be a factor in suicides. Up to 70% of teens that commit suicide drank on a regular basis. Teens that drink are far more likely to attempt and complete suicide than their non-drinking peers.

Teens and young adults are most likely to engage in binge drinking, which can easily result in alcohol poisoning, coma, or even death. One-third of all high school students report at least one episode of binge drinking.

Teens are also more likely than adults to engage in risky behavior when under the influence, including driving recklessly.

Ninety percent of teens that drink regularly also do other things that put them at risk for harm. One national survey found that of teens that reported drinking at least once a week,

  • nearly 50% had used marijuana in the last month  
  • 21% had used other illegal drugs (such as cocaine) in the last month. 
  • 27% of these teens had engaged in unsafe sex, 
  • 16% had carried a weapon to school in the past month, 
  • 9% had attempted suicide in the past year.

As these teenage alcoholism facts show, teen alcoholism is a serious problem.


Preventing Teenage Alcoholism

Fortunately, there is much that can be done to prevent teen alcoholism. Both parents and educators can play a role in the prevention of the disorder.

Parents usually have the greatest influence over their children. Teenage alcoholism facts show that teens whose parents talk to them about alcohol use are far less likely to drink than those whose parents never bring up the subject. Simply talking to your child can greatly reduce his or her risk of becoming an alcoholic.

Sharing some teenage alcoholism facts with youth can also help. Most teens are unaware of the dangers of underage drinking, and providing them with accurate, easy to understand information can go a long way towards deterring alcohol use.

Information given to teens should include information about the laws against underage drinking. Drinking under the age of 21 is illegal in all states. In many states, it can also result in the loss of a driver’s license. That can be a powerful deterrent for many teens.

Treating Teens

Alcoholism in teenagers is much more treatable than alcoholism in adults. That’s because teens have had less time to develop the common complications of the disease. They are less likely to have developed serious health problems due to their drinking.

They will not have ruined a career. Relationship problems with their families may be less developed than the problems found in the families of adult alcoholics, who may have been drinking for many years.

Teen alcoholism needs to be treated promptly, however, in order to prevent the development of serious complications. It should be treated in a treatment center that specializing in the treatment of teen alcoholism. Treatment centers designed to treat adult alcoholics will not adequately address the issues of teens.

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 

I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LPC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More

More teenage alcoholism facts on our main teenage alcoholism page

Alcoholism home page


National Institute of Health

Self Test for Teenagers