Underage Drinking

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“During the last 30 days, 26.4% of underage persons (aged 12-20) used alcohol. Binge drinking among the same age group was 17.4%. Alcohol use remains extremely widespread among today’s teenagers.” – SAMHSA & NIDA

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“Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug, among youth in the U.S.” – CDC

Bringing a child into this world is the biggest commitment you can take on. When the child is born, we are full of emotions: fear, happiness, love, and elation. In addition to those overwhelming feelings, we think – “Am I going to be a good enough mom/dad?” “Will I be able to protect them until the day I die?” Naturally, the actual FEAR doesn’t kick in, until the baby becomes a teenager – asking if she can go to Rebecca’s sleepover next door. What if there will be drinking? What if the responsible chaperone thinks it’ll be ok to let them have “JUST ONE DRINK” if they keep their eyes on them? Your child may be right next door, but when you’re rushing your 15 year-old to the E.R. for alcohol poisoning, THAT is when it hits home.

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**For a complete outline of safety precautions, to shield your child from alcohol, visit the Surgeon General website. You may also find helpful tips on the Institute of Medicine website**

Here are the startling statistics:

•Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year.

•Persons aged 12-20 years old drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States. More than 90% of this is all consumed in the form of binge drinking.

•On average, underage drinkers consume more drinks per drinking occasion than adult drinkers.

•In 2010, there were approximately 189,000 E.R. visits by persons under the age of 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol.

•Youth who start drinking before the age of 15, are SIX TIMES MORE LIKELY to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after the age of 21.

Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2013) (Within the last 30 days of the survey)

35% Drank SOME amount of alcohol

21% Binge drank

10% Drank alcohol then drove

22% Rode with a drunk driver

In 2013, National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported:

Within the last 30 days of the current survey, 23% (ages 12-20) of the participants drank alcohol. 14% of those surveyed, admitted they were binge drinking.

Signs your child has an alcohol dependency problem:

• Higher absences from school
• Lower grade scores/failing classes
• Fighting with their peers
• No interest in after school activities
• Arrested for a physical fight

Dangers of alcohol dependency:

• Rape (being taken advantage of in other sexual ways)
• Unprotected sexual acts
• Higher risk of teen pregnancy
• Higher risk for suicide/homicide due to depressed mindset
• Car accidents
• Memory problems
• Abuse of other drugs
• Death due to alcohol poisoning

– Jessica Osborn

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References: http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm

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