Children are the future and the next generation. For the current population, it is essential that they develop into functioning adults. They are certain factors that can inhibit this growth. One of these contributing factors can be seen through the statistics of underage drinking. 

What qualifies as underage drinking?

Underage drinking is when a child or teen drinks under the legal drinking limit. This can vary depending on where you are in the world, but in the United States, the legal limit is 21 years old. In 2015, over 7.7 billion children and teens admitted to having or consuming alcohol. This statistic of underage drinking leads into the next number of 4,300 deaths happen due to underage drinking.

What are the statistics of underage drinking? 

When people say that underage drinking is a problem, they are looking at the numbers. They can see that 33% of teenagers have had at least one alcoholic beverage at the age of 15. This age is six years under the legal limit. When teens get older and reach 18, the percentage doubles. 60% of 18-year-olds have had at least one drink three years before the legal age of 21. 

Within that percent, the statistics of underage drinking begin to unfurl. With at least 5.1 million teens have reported that they have binged drink once within the past month. From that, 1.3 million youths have reported excessive drinking at least five times within the base month. That is 25% of the 5.1 million teens drinking are becoming binge drinkers.  

How do the statistics of underage drinking affect me? 

If you are a parent, then these numbers may frighten you as this could potentially affect your children, whether they are within the preteens or teens. Or this may be a concern for your children’s future if they are still young. The statistics of underage drinking can affect anyone.

 If you aren’t a parent, you should still think about underage drinking and how it affects the society around you. Underage drinking deaths in 2010 cost the U.S. at least $24 billion in economic costs. The CDC states that minors who are drinking are also more likely to fail school, get into trouble, drink, and drive. These teens will have a harder time incorporating themselves into society. 

The effects of underage drinking 

There is a myriad of things that happen to youths who drink under the legal limit of 21. Doctors have advised that many adverse effects occur due to underage drinking. Teens are still growing into their full adulthood. Consuming alcohol affects adolescent brain development and can harm their long term memory and learning skills.  Alcohol consumption at an early age can also affect hormones and create hormonal imbalances.  The most apparent effect of drinking alcohol is liver damage, as alcohol is known for hurting the liver at any age. 

Who are at risk? 

Any child, teen, or adolescent can be at risk of drinking. They can learn through their parents or their peers. Even social media and television can portray drinking as cool. But usually, those who are marginalized or called trouble makers tend to become a statistic of underage drinking. It is essential to take notice of these children and help them realize when they need help.

Are there any ways of reducing the statistics of underage drinking?  

The United States is currently facing an issue where 12 to 20-year-olds drink 11% of all alcohol in the country. These kids are at risk of becoming binge drinkers and alcoholics. The best thing to do is to be aware and support groups that help prevent underage drinking in your community. It is also vital to provide youths with different outlets, so they do not consider drinking alcohol as a recreational thing.  

How can I help change the statistics of underage drinking?  

We can help change the statistics of underage drinking by helping the adolescents around us. You do not necessarily have to join a youth group(unless you want to) to help change the numbers. If everyone would help advise the adverse effects of underage drinking, we could shrink the injuries and other conditions caused by alcohol that creates 119,000 emergency rooms visit for people from 12-21. If parents talk to their kid about this issue and advise them that drinking can harm them if they start before the age of 21, that would at least get more children informed. If you don’t have any kids, then help support the cousins, nieces, and nephews around you. Or if you do not know any children support your local youth groups. 

What if my child is already drinking alcohol? 

If your adolescents or children are already a part of the statistics of underage drinking, then start helping them realize that they may have a problem. This is vital if you know they are binge drinking or alcoholics.  Helping them realize they have a problem will allow them to be more accepting of help and maybe even motivate the child to try and avoid alcohol. If possible, find a treatment clinic that specializes in alcohol.  There are a variety of options that can be offered at these clinics, and you can find what will work best for the adolescent. This option will prove to be the best as you will work with specialists who can offer professional advice and provide medical attention as necessary. 

Treatments Available

Treatments for excessive alcohol consumption can vary. There are outpatient options that allow the child to fight alcoholism in the early stages. This may let them go to school and also seek treatment at the same time. There are also residential treatments that allow for a more personal approach as you reside in the treatment center. This option creates a personalized schedule for you during your stay. Both of these options can work for your underage drinker. The main thing, though, if your child is already drinking is to be supportive of them during their treatment as it will be hard to overcome the addiction but will save their life in the long run.