Alcohol is plastered across billboards, magazine ads. Between TV shows and on city buses — advertisements for alcohol have increased by 400% in the last 40 years. Social media influence has ensured that these ads now reach just about all age groups.

The reality is that young people are drinking alcohol and it is not hard to see why. The legal drinking age in the U.S. is  21, but teens around the country have easy access to alcohol. Whether from friends, relatives, parties or the kitchen when you are not home, the scope of underage drinking reflects the popularity and ease with which young people get their hands on alcohol.

Teen Drinking Statistics

Here are some statistics about underage drinking in the United States, according to the CDC:

  • 30% of high school students drank some amount of alcohol in the past 30 days.
  • 8% of 8th graders drank some amount of alcohol in the past 30 days.
  • By 12th grade, about two-thirds have tried alcohol at least once.
  • In 2013, there were approximately 119,000 emergency room visits related to underage drinking.
  • People aged 12–20 drink 11% of all alcohol consumed. More than 90% of that consumption is in the form of binge drinking.

Infographic one statistic on young people consumption of alcohol

Teen Binge Drinking

On average, a teen drinks more alcohol in a single sitting than adults do. This is a problem known as “binge drinking,” or consuming an excessive amount over a short time. This is often the case for many college underclassmen and high schoolers who drink at parties and social events.

Peer pressure, the excitement of drinking and an abundance of alcohol can cause teens and young adults to drink excessively and get dangerously drunk.

Statistics on underage binge drinking include:

Infographic two binge drinking in teens statistic

Teen Drunk Driving Statistics

Car crashes are the leading cause of death among American teens and many are influenced by alcohol. The list of impairments caused by alcohol intoxication is long, including affected motor functions, slowed reaction time, blurry vision and distorted perception.

Alcohol can also cause “blackouts” — a complete unawareness of one’s surroundings or actions. An overly drunk teen may not remember how their night ended. In all too many cases, they wake up in the hospital after a car accident — or don’t wake up at all — and seriously injure unsuspecting passengers, people in other cars or pedestrians.

The CDC reports the following statistic on underage drinking and driving:

  • Teens drink and drive approximately 2.4 million times a month.
  • 1 in 10 high schoolers will drink and drive.
  • 1 in 5 teen drivers involved in fatal crashes have alcohol in their system.
  • 85% of high schoolers who reported drink and drink were also binge drinking.

Infographic three statistic on teen drivers and alcohol

Risks of Teen Drinking

Death from a car accident, alcohol poisoning or other scenarios related to intoxication (e.g., falls, burns, drowning) is a possibility each time your teen decides to drink. But the spectrum of risks associated with underage drinking is vast and can impact their young life in many different ways.

Along with the significant impact of alcohol on the brain, risks and effects of alcohol on teens include:

  • Abuse of other drugs
  • Addiction
  • Arrests
  • Physical and sexual abuse
  • Serious injury or other disabilities
  • Social difficulties
  • Unplanned pregnancy

Problems in school are common in kids who abuse alcohol. Falling grades or getting caught can end in suspension or expulsion. High school students who drink are also more likely to drop out of school. Even if they remain in school, teen alcoholism can create social problems such as losing friends as well as other issues in their relationships.

These problems can quickly trickle down into their home life. If your son or daughter struggles with drinking, you may find that they’re not the same person they once were. Talk about alcohol addiction with them and consider getting them professional help if they need it.

Infographic four statistic on the beliefs of parents binge drinking

Does Your Teenager Need Alcohol Rehab?

It can be scary to discover that your teen drinks alcohol in any amount. You know the dangerous effects of alcohol on teens, so don’t ignore the situation if your child shows signs of alcohol addiction. Instead, address the situation as soon as you can by speaking to a recovery specialist.

At The Recovery Village, we are available to confidentially discuss your family’s situation with you, free of charge and with no obligation. We can help you determine the next steps and if a teen alcohol rehab is the right solution for you.

Don’t turn a blind eye to your teen’s alcohol abuse — get them the help they need. You can start by reaching out to us and we’ll help you take it from there.