Alcohol kills more teenagers than all other drugs combined. It is a factor in the three leading causes of death among 15- to 24-year-olds: accidents, homicides and suicides.
- Youth who drink are 7.5 times more likely to use other illegal drugs and fifty times more likely to use cocaine than young people who never drink. One survey found that 32% of the heavy drinkers over 12 were also illegal drug users.
- In 2005, 6.6% of the US population aged 12 or older, or 16 million people, reported heavy drinking (binge drinking on at least five days of the past thirty days).
- Of the 3.9 million Americans who received treatment for a substance abuse problem in 2005, 2.5 million of them were treated for alcohol use.
- Alcohol-related traffic deaths in the US were 12,998 in 2007. This is more than three times as many American soldiers who died in combat in the first six years of the Iraq war.
- There are 1.4 million drunk driving arrests in the US every year.
- A US Department of Justice study found that as many as 40% of violent crimes occur under the influence of alcohol.
- In 2005–2006, there were 187,640 National Health System alcohol-related hospital admissions in England.
- There were 6,570 deaths in England in 2005 from causes directly linked to alcohol use. In 2006, alcohol-related deaths in England rose to 8,758. This amounts to an annual increase of 7% from the previous year.
- According to one study, of the 490 million people in the European Union, more than 23 million are dependent on alcohol.
- In Europe, alcohol contributes to nearly one in ten of all cases of illness and premature deaths each year.
- 39% of all traffic deaths involved alcohol in 2005.
- 40% of violent crimes occur under the influence of alcohol.
Why Do So Many Young People Drink?
As children mature, it is natural for them to assert their independence, seek new challenges, and try taking risks. Underage drinking is a risk that attracts many developing adolescents and teens. Many want to try alcohol, but often do not fully recognize its effects on their health and behavior. Other reasons young people drink alcohol include:
- Peer pressure
- Increased independence, or desire for it
In addition, many youth may have easy access to alcohol. In 2015, among 12-14 year olds who reported that they drank alcohol in the past month, 95.1 percent reported that they got it for free the last time they drank. In many cases, adolescents have access to alcohol through family members, or find it at home.
More adolescents use alcohol than cigarettes or marijuana