We know you know that abusing alcohol is stupid. Aside from being illegal, you've heard the studies that show underage drinking can lead to alcohol addiction, depression and fatal accidents. While teen smoking and illegal drug use seems to be declining, underage drinking remains a huge problem. Over 3 million teens in the U.S. drink heavily. Which leads us to believe it's time to put the black on white and take a look at the sobering facts. Approximately one quarter of the alcohol consumed in the U.S. is consumed by individuals under the age of 21. More than 3 million students between 12 and 17 begin drinking each year. Ninth graders who say they currently use alcohol is 41%, and nearly 62% of twelth graders say they do. The underage drinking gap that once existed between boys and girls seems to have closed. Among male and female 9th graders, current alcohol use is roughly 40% for both sexes, while binge drinking is about 22% for boys and 20% for girls. Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks in a row for girls and five or more drinks in a row for boys. Three recent studies suggest that heavy drinking causes memory loss and perhaps even permanent brain damage. MRIs of the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with memory and learning was 10% smaller in those teens who drank regularly. Permanent means forever. Alcohol kills 6.5 times more young people than all illegal drugs combined. About 10 million teenagers have at least one drink a month, including 20% of 15-year-olds, 26% of 16-year-olds and 32% of 17-year-olds. And 18% of them are binge drinkers who have five or more drinks the same night. More than 80% of teens have tried alcohol by the time they graduate from high school. This despite the fact that the younger you start drinking, the more likely it is you will abuse alcohol and become dependent. Drinking too much can lead to dizziness, blurry vision, vomiting, blackouts and alcohol poisoning which may be life threatening. You might feel uncoordinated, have trouble walking, and have difficulty thinking clearly. Adolescents who drink regularly are associated with risky sexual behaviors, academic failure (they are 4 to 6 times more likely to cut class or skip school and twice as likely to admit their schoolwork is poor), and are more likely to become both victims and perpetrators of crime.
We appreciate the fact that no one likes to be preached to, but somehow the message is not getting across that alcoholism is a disease, underage drinking can seriously screw up your life, and that being sloppy and loud is never attractive.
Get insights into underage drinking and read helpful information at BeingGirl.com.