11 Facts About Teens and Alcohol

  1. By age 14, 41% of children have had least one drink.
  2. The average age at which Americans begin drinking regularly is 15.9 years old.
  3. Teens who begin drinking before age 15 are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.
  4. An early age of drinking onset is also associated with alcohol-related violence not only among persons under age 21 but among adults as well.
  5. It’s estimated that over three million teenagers are out-and-out alcoholics. Several million more have a serious drinking problem that they cannot manage on their own.
  6. Annually, more than 5,000 deaths of people under age 21 are linked to underage drinking.
  7. Various studies have found that 44% of students attending 4-year colleges drink alcohol at the binge level or greater.
  8. Every year, an estimated 30,000 college students require medical treatment after overdosing on alcohol.
  9. Annually, 400,000 students between the ages 18 and 24 engage in unprotected sex while drunk and say they wouldn’t have done it had they been sober.
  10. The three leading causes of death for 15- to 24-year-olds are automobile crashes, homicides and suicides — alcohol is a leading factor in all three.
  11. The rate of current alcohol consumption increases with age, according to the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, from 2% at age 12 to 21% at age 16, and 55% at age 20.

Source: Harvard School of Public Health