Teenage Drinking Facts

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited:  August 26 ,
| 4 Sources

Teenage drinking facts tell us that teenage alcohol abuse is on the decline, but it is still a serious problem today.

Alcohol abuse in teens increases the risk for serious and long-lasting problems. Alcohol dependence also occurs more often in adolescent drinkers than adults who drink at comparable levels of consumption. The effects of alcohol are increased in the young due to different levels of physical development, body composition, and variations in alcohol metabolism.

Here are other teenage alcoholism facts that parents of alcoholic teens should know:

Teenage Drinking Facts to Consider

  • Every day an average of 11,318 teens try alcohol for the first time.
  • Underage drinkers account for 11.4% of all alcohol consumed in the U.S.
  • Americans drink the heaviest in their teens to mid-twenties. Alcohol use declines after that.
  • Three out of four high school seniors have consumed alcohol by the time they graduate.
  • More than half of high school seniors report being drunk at least once.
  • Teens that drink alcohol are 50 times more likely to use cocaine than teens that do not drink.
  • Eight teens die every day in alcohol-related car crashes.
  • College students are more likely to engage in binge drinking than their peers who do not attend college.
  • Teens who consume alcohol by the age of 15 are 4 times more likely to develop alcohol dependence as adults than those who do not begin drinking until the legal age of 21.

Stopping Teenage Alcohol Abuse

The teenage drinking facts are sobering. Stopping teenage alcohol abuse must be a priority.

Teenage drinking facts tell us that parents can play a big role in stopping teenage alcohol abuse. Statistics have shown that when parents talk to their teens about the dangers of drinking, they are less likely to drink.

Some parents are uncomfortable talking to their children about alcohol abuse, but it is critical that they do so. They should arm themselves with the teenage drinking facts and accurate information - information is readily available online, if parents are not familiar with the facts - and also be prepared to share family values regarding alcohol use.

But what happens when talking is not enough? What happens when teens begin to experiment with alcohol anyway?

A little experimentation, while not a good thing, may be normal and not cause for too much alarm. If a teen begins using alcohol on a regular basis, or drinking large amounts of alcohol, even on an infrequent basis (binge drinking), help is needed.

Parents will need to make some changes in order to prevent teen drinking: Set clear rules about your expectations for your children regarding drug and alcohol use as well as risky behaviors like reckless driving and unsafe sex.

Don't spoil your kids or overindulge them with material goods or attention when they misbehave by using alcohol or other drugs. Allow your children to experience negative consequences for their actions if they choose to drink alcohol or do something dangerous.

You may have to be more involved in your child's life than you would like, but it is worth it if you can prevent them from making potentially fatal choices that could haunt them for the rest of their lives.

If in doubt, professional help should be sought. An assessment by a professional is the only way to really determine if a child has an alcohol abuse problem.


Professional Help for Teen Alcohol Abuse

Prompt professional help is needed to nip teenage alcohol abuse in the bud. The type of help needed depends on the degree of alcohol use. Again, a professional assessment is necessary to determine the appropriate level of care.

It may be as simple as weekly 12-step meetings, or as involved as long-term residential care.The child's age and level of involvement with alcohol or other drugs, as well as any other personal issues that may have contributed to the problem, must all be taken into consideration before a decision can be made.

Residential treatment program provides an environment where teens can focus on dealing with their alcohol abuse issues without having to worry about what's going on at home. They also receive professional care, including medical and psychiatric services as needed.

Sometimes a combination of residential treatment and other types of help, like outpatient meetings are the best answer for stopping teenage alcohol abuse. This is especially true for younger teens who haven't yet been hooked by alcohol.

The earlier they can be exposed to Alcoholics Anonymous, the better the chances are that this will not become a lifetime struggle. There is no magic bullet when it comes to stopping teenage alcohol abuse, but there are ways to make a difference if parents take action now.

Any type of professional help must be geared specifically toward teens. Studies have shown that, while teens are welcome at any AA meeting (Alcoholics Anonymous), they are far more likely to attend meetings where the other members are their age.

Treatment facilities that specialize in treating adolescents are far more equipped to deal with the special needs of teens than those that primarily treat adult addicts.

The good news is that teen alcohol abuse is treatable. When caught early, alcohol addiction responds well to rehabilitative treatment. In fact, teens are far less likely to relapse than adults who undergo treatment for alcohol addiction. Again, this supposes that the addiction has not been going on for a number of years.

So if you think your child has an alcohol abuse problem, you need to seek help right away. For more information on finding an alcohol treatment center for your teen, take a look at our treatment and teenage drinking sections.

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 drinking facts on our effects of teenage drinking page

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