We know some startling information about teens and alcohol. For example, on average, boys take their first alcoholic drink at 11 and girls at 13 years old. What's more, studies show that children who begin drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to develop problems with alcohol than those who start after the age of 21.
This is why so much time and attention has been spent on educating this age group about the dangers of alcohol. But the statistics show there is more to be done. Alcohol is linked to automobile accidents, murders and suicides for those 15 to 24 years old - the leading cause of death in that age group. Individuals under 21 years old made nearly 190,000 visits to emergency rooms in 2010 for injuries or other issues related to alcohol.
We also know that as teens get older, they drink more. A recent national survey showed that approximately 2 percent of 12-year-olds, 21 percent of 16-year-olds, and 55 percent of 20-year-olds drink alcohol.
Those who drink alcohol are more aggressive, more likely to engage in criminal activity, and less likely to be academically successful. These can be signs that teens are abusing alcohol. Other predictors of abuse may include signs of anxiety or depression, friends who drink, drinking in the household, and economic stress on the family.
Future Health's education and training materials can help you detect signs of alcohol abuse and even alcohol dependence among teens you know. This information could help you save a life.
Check out a preview of our "Understanding Alcohol Addiction" video here