As parents, we worry about our children experimenting with alcohol. We worry that one night they may consume too much, become sick, or make a bad decision – possibly with lifelong consequences. What parents may not realize, however, is that their son or daughter could be consuming alcohol more frequently, or at an earlier age, than they realize. While the truth of teen alcohol abuse is difficult to think about, teens and their families across the country are experiencing the painful realities of alcohol overuse on an all too regular basis. To ensure you understand the risk factors facing your teen, read the list of facts below about teen alcohol abuse:
- Some adolescents begin drinking before their teenage years. Many parents understand that their child will be tempted to drink before turning 21, but what many do not realize, is that the average age at which boys start drinking is 11 – before they are even teenagers. The average age at which girls first drink is 13. These statistics are particularly concerning because individuals who begin drinking before age 15 are more likely to develop an alcohol addiction later in life.
- Most high school students drink. Recent statistics indicate that most teens have experimented with alcohol at least once. Nearly 75 percent of seniors in high school have consumed alcohol, and 23 percent admit to binge drinking.
- Teens consume over 10 percent of the alcohol in the United States. According to a study by Columbia University, underage drinkers account for 11.4 percent of all of the alcohol consumed in the U.S.
- Teen drinking causes academic and social issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) young people who drink alcohol are more likely to experience problems in school, such as higher rates of absence or poor or failing grades, as well as social problems, including fighting and lack of participation in youth activities.
- Teens get into cars with drunk drivers. 25 percent of all high school students have admitted to getting into a car with a drunk driver, while 8 percent admit to driving while under the influence themselves.
- Teen drinkers end-up in the emergency room. In 2010, there were over 180,000 emergency rooms visits made by teens under age 21 to treat alcohol related injuries and other conditions.
- Teens who drink are at a greater risk to inflict self-harm. Teens who regularly consume alcohol are up to three times more likely to commit self-harm, which includes cutting and even suicide.
- Alcohol use is the number one cause of death. It’s a terrifying reality, but alcohol plays a role in the top three causes of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 24. Car crashes, homicides, and suicides are the leading causes of death for this age group and in each case alcohol is the leading contributing factor.
If you believe that your teen may be at risk of alcohol overuse, don’t wait to get help. Horizon Health Services offers specialized substance abuse treatment programs for adolescents and their families. Call us today at 716.831.1800 for more information.