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Youth and Underage Drinking: An Overview

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Introduction

Youth and Underage Drinking: An Overview Young people begin to take risks and experiment as they transition from childhood to adulthood. Without support and guidance, some young people may engage in behaviors that place them and others at risk - including using alcohol. Highlights from SAMHSA's National Household Survey on Drug Abuse 6 All youth, ages 12-17: * 7.2 million drank at least once in the past year * 2.7 million drank about once a month or more in the past year * 1 million drank at least once a week or more in the past year * Girls were as likely as boys their age to drink alcohol * Hispanic youth were as likely as white non-Hispanic youth to be current drinkers * Black non-Hispanic youth were the least likely of the racial/ethnic groups to be current drinkers * 66 percent thought drinking 4 or 5 alcoholic drinks nearly every day was a great risk * 47 percent thought drinking 4 or 5 alcoholic drinks once or twice a week was a great risk All youth, ages 12-17: 7 * 13 percent had at least one serious problem related to drinking in the past year * 6 percent had built up tolerance to the effects of alcohol * 3 percent reported psychological problems related to their drinking * 1 percent reported health problems related to their drinking Youth, ages 12-17, who drank any alcohol in the past year: * 39 percent had at least one serious problem related to drinking in the past year * 18 percent had built up tolerance to the ...read more.

Middle

Survey results also show that 81 percent of 8th graders, 70 percent of 10th graders, and 65 percent of 12th graders, disapprove of this quantity and rate of alcohol consumption.16 * Seventy-five percent of 8th graders and 89 percent of 10th graders believe that alcohol is readily available to them for consumption.17 * Eighty percent of 12- to 17-year-olds surveyed think that alcohol negatively affects scholastic performance, and 81 percent believe it increases the likelihood of getting into trouble.18 * Twenty-two percent of youth under age 18 report drinking at least once a week.19 Risk Factors for Adolescent Alcohol Use The reasons why adolescents use alcohol are complex but include curiosity, a need to fit in with friends, and a desire to relax and escape problems.20 For some, additional factors may be involved. Highlights from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Alcohol Alert on Youth Drinking21 include the following risk factors: * Genetic Factors: Children of alcoholic are significantly more likely to initiate drinking during adolescence and to develop alcohol use disorders, but the relative influences of environment and genetics have not been determined and vary among young people. * Childhood Behavior: Research has shown that children who are very restless and impulsive at age 3 are twice as likely to be diagnosed with alcohol dependency at age 21. Aggressiveness in children as young as ages 5 to 10 has been found to predict alcohol and other drug use in adolescence. * Psychiatric Disorders: Among 12- to 16-year-olds, regular alcohol use has been significantly associated with conduct disorder; in one study, adolescents who reported higher levels of drinking were more likely to have conduct disorder. ...read more.

Conclusion

6 Substance Abuse and Mental health Services Administration, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse Population Estimates 1998, Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999. 7 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse Main Findings 1997 (Table 9.3), Rockville, MD: DHHS, 1999. 8 National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Survey Results on Drug Use from The Monitoring the Future Study, 1975-1997, Volume I: Secondary School Students, Rockville, MD: Department of Health and Human Services, 1998. 9 Gillmore, M.R., et al., "Children's beliefs about drinking," American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Volume 24 (1), 1998. 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid. 12 Chassin, Laurie and Christian DeLucia, "Drinking during adolescence." Life-Stage Issues, Volume 20 (3), 1996. 13 Gillmore, M.R., et al., "Children's beliefs about drinking," American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Volume 24 (1), 1998. 14 Ibid. 15 The Scholastic/CNN Newsroom Survey on Student Attitudes about Drug and Substance Abuse, 1990. 16 National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Survey Results on Drug Use from the Monitoring the Future Study, 1975-1997, Volume I: Secondary School Students, Rockville, MD: Department of Health and Human Services, 1998. 17 Ibid. 18 National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 1996 Survey of American Attitudes and Substance Abuse, Columbia University, N.Y., 1996. 19 Ibid. 20 American Academy of Pediatrics, Alcohol: Your Child and Drugs, Washington, DC: 1999. 21 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Youth Drinking: Risk Factors and Consequences, Alcohol Alert No. 37, July 1997. 22 Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration, Office for Substance Abuse Prevention, Preventing Adolescent Drug Abuse: From Theory to Practice, OSAP Prevention Monograph-8, Rockville, MD: Department of Health and Human Services, 1991. ...read more.

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