Social problems, such as fighting and lack of participation in youth activities. Legal problems, such as arrest for driving or physically hurting someone while drunk.
In fact, during the late s and early s, many States lowered the legal drinking age from 21 to Following this change, the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities among young people increased.
In response to these acute consequences, beginning in the early s individual States increased the drinking age to InCongress passed legislation that would withhold federal highway construction funds from any state that had not adopted a minimum legal drinking age of Byall States had adopted age 21 as the minimum legal drinking age.
Alcohol-related traffic deaths among young drivers subsequently declined. The prevalence of underage alcohol use, daily alcohol use, and binge drinking also declined since However, many young people continued to drink and drink heavily.
TODAY Underage alcohol use remains a pervasive and persistent problem with serious health and safety consequences. Deeply embedded in American culture, underage drinking is still viewed by many as a rite of passage into adulthood. Today, in Under age drinking and today s to the age 21 minimum legal drinking age, all States have passed zero-tolerance laws that make it illegal for people under age 21 to drive after drinking any alcohol.
In spite of underage drinking laws and prevention programs, available information from national surveys indicates that rates of underage alcohol consumption over the past decade remain at unacceptably high levels. According to the Monitoring the Future Study http: Particularly worrisome among adolescents is the high prevalence of binge drinking — the consumption of five or more drinks for males, and 4 or more drinks for females per occasion.
Underage drinkers consume, on average, 4 to 5 drinks per occasion about 5 times a month. By comparison, drinkers age 26 and older consume 2 to 3 drinks per occasion, about 9 times a month.
Underage drinking is a leading contributor to death from injuries, which are the main cause of death for people under age Each year, approximately 5, persons under the age of 21 die from causes related to underage drinking.
These deaths include about 1, homicides and suicides.
Alcohol also plays a significant role in risky sexual behavior and increases the risk of physical and sexual assault. Among college students under age 21, 50, experience alcohol-related date rape, and 43, are injured by another student who has been drinking.
In addition, studies with animals and alcohol dependent adolescents show that alcohol has the potential to impact adolescent brain development.
Given recent research which shows that the human brain continues to develop throughout adolescence, we need to better understand the short- and long-term effects of alcohol on the developing brain.
Underage drinking is also associated with future alcohol dependence. Analyses of data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions show that people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence during their lifetime than those who began drinking at age 21 or later.
This has even been shown for identical twins who have the same genetics but begin drinking at different ages. Further, this holds true for individuals from families where a parent has a history of alcoholism and for individuals with no parental history of alcoholism.
Therefore, while parental history clearly contributes to the risk for developing alcoholism, likely a reflection of genetic risk factors, early initiation of drinking is also an important predictor of risk for alcoholism.
These biological and psychosocial processes affect everything from the way adolescents use alcohol, their responses to it, the attraction it holds for many of them, and the range of consequences they may experience.
Foster changes in society that facilitate healthy adolescent development and that help prevent and reduce underage drinking.
Engage parents, schools, communities, all levels of government, all social systems that interface with youth, and youth themselves in a coordinated national effort to prevent and reduce underage drinking and its consequences.
Promote an understanding of underage alcohol consumption in the context of human development and maturation that takes into account individual adolescent characteristics as well as environmental, ethnic, cultural, and gender differences.
Conduct additional research on adolescent alcohol use and its relationship to development. Work to improve public health surveillance on underage drinking and on population-based risk factors for this behavior.
Work to ensure that policies at all levels are consistent with the national goal of preventing and reducing underage alcohol consumption. The NIH will continue to move the research agenda forward to provide a better understanding of how development both influences underage alcohol use and is affected by it.
For example, NIH will continue to support research on the impact of alcohol exposure on the developing adolescent brain. For additional information contact: John Bowersox jbowersox niaaa.During the past month (30 days), % of underage persons (ages ) used alcohol, and binge drinking among the same age group was %.
SAMHSA Alcohol use remains extremely widespread among today’s teenagers. Under these types of laws and policies, the vast majority of our youth today are learning about drinking in very unsafe environments such as a basement keg party or even a frat party where most of those students there drinking are under .
The Effects of Underage Drinking and Binge Drinking in Today’s Youth. According to a fact sheet released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol abuse is prevalent among our nation’s young people. Alcohol use by persons under age 21 years is a major public health problem.
In the United States, consuming alcohol under the age of 21 is considered underage drinking and is strictly against the law. Drinking underage comes with legal consequences including mandatory community service, suspended license, fines and potential time in jail.
Learn the warning signs of underage drinking. Unlike in previous years, there were no significant decreases in underage drinking prevalence rates among America’s teens from to Seventy-seven percent of 8 th graders report they have never consumed alcohol, down 67% proportionally from 70% in to 23% in Lifetime consumption of alcohol among tenth graders and twelfth graders declined proportionally 50% and 30%, respectively, .
Underage drinking is a serious public health problem in the United States. Alcohol is the most widely used substance of abuse among America’s youth, and drinking by young people poses enormous health and safety risks. The consequences of underage drinking can affect everyone— regardless of age or drinking status.