Underage Drinking Facts: How Serious is Underage Drinking for Our Teens?
Alcohol Use in Early Teens
Peer pressure is nothing new. You can most likely remember the first time you were pressured into making a choice you knew you shouldn’t. Some children admit to having their first exposure to alcohol as early as elementary school, but most incidents will occur in their middle school years.
The North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control System reports that:
- By age 15, 50% of youths say they have tried alcohol.
- ⅔ of middle and high school children know people at their school who have tried alcohol.
- 38% of 8th graders have experimented with alcohol.
- Most youths try alcohol for the first time as early as 14 years old.
As parents, this tells us that we can’t wait until high school to start discussing the dangers of alcohol use and the peer pressure that they will face. We must ensure they are fully prepared and acting early is crucial. The time is now before it is too late.
Kids Know There’s a Problem – Do Their Parents?
Parents can be pleasantly surprised knowing that their children can see the issues going on around them. Youth admit that there is a serious underage drinking problem. They see what is happening with their peers. Unfortunately, half of the parents disagree with treating underage drinking as an issue. Shouldn’t we believe those who are experiencing it daily?
Pushing difficult issues under the rug does not make them go away. Our teens will still experience the pressures of fitting in with underage drinking, even if we do not bring the issue to the light.
The Impacts of Underage Drinking Are Immense
The impacts of underage drinking are all around us and should be taken seriously. The most important is that underage drinking can kill. Most youth will not have the understanding to control binge drinking. It can lead to other dangerous behaviors inside and outside of school. These behaviors include driving under the influence, changes in brain development, memory issues, and alcohol poisoning. Underage drinking can contribute to serious mental health problems that will impact their lives in years to come.
Teens Can’t Do This on Their Own
Teens are unable to have the self-control and understanding that we have as parents. Teenagers NEED help from their parents and other adults around them to encourage good decision-making. This includes talking about difficult issues such as underage alcohol abuse. Take steps now to ensure your child stays alcohol-free.
Not sure where to start? Download our free guide 10 Tips for Talking to Your Child About Substance Use to begin the conversation today! Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for informative content, prevention resources, the latest facts, and ways to guide your teen.
Drug Free Clubs of America is on a mission to reduce the impacts of drug use in youth. Across the nation, drug and alcohol use is on the rise among teens. We provide students with practical tools and techniques to navigate peer pressure and choose a healthy lifestyle. Partnering with schools and the community, we offer preventative programming to meet students where they are. Through randomized drug testing, educational resources, a positive outlet, and a supportive community, we are changing school cultures and reducing alcohol, marijuana, vaping, and other detrimental activities among our members and the entire school body. Drug Free Clubs of America has over 6,000 student and faculty/staff members and Clubs in over 50 schools in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia.