In the United States, alcohol is the most commonly used substance among adults and teens alike. Teen drinking has harmful outcomes, from adverse health effects to social issues such as:
- Lower grades and participation in school
- Unplanned or unprotected sexual activity
- Increased risk of injuries and accidents such as motor vehicle crashes
- Memory problems
- Alcohol poisoning
1. Teens Use Alcohol For A Variety Of Reasons
Teens use alcohol for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to:
- Peer pressure
- To cope with stress, anxiety, and/or depression
Alcohol use in media can also influence teens to drink, as it is often romanticized. As such, it can appear harmless to teens.
Think you know about teen drinking? Here are some mind-blowing facts:
2. In 2019, 25% Of 14- To 15-Year Olds Reported Having At Least One Drink
In the 2019 Youth Risk Behavioral Survey, it was found that more than a quarter of high school students drank alcohol at the time of the survey, with 1 in 10 reporting binge drinking. Teens are less sensitive to the intoxicating effects of alcohol, which can lead to overdrinking.
Knowing how much is in a standard drink can surprise many people, as the amount of liquid in a glass or a can doesn’t necessarily match its alcohol content.
3. Teen Drinking Is Associated With Adult Drinking
Teens who drink are more likely to develop dependence as an adult. No one chooses to become dependent on substances like alcohol. Repetitive and misuse can change the brain’s chemical composition, and teens can depend upon alcohol as a way to cope.
Teens whose adult relatives drink and their behaviors towards it can also influence how likely that teen is to start drinking.
4. Teen Drinking Can Interfere With Normal Brain Development
Teens are still developing their brains, and drinking alcohol can interfere with healthy brain development—both before and after.
During adolescence, the brain is still developing and changing in crucial ways for memory and developing essential neuron connections. The prefrontal cortex, the frontal region of the brain, associated with memory, motor behavior, impulse control, and decision making, can see a decline in neural connections due to underage drinking.
As a result, teens can develop memory problems and poor impulse control and decision-making.
5. Adolescent Girls Are Now More Likely To Drink Than Boys
Historically, teenage boys were more likely to drink than girls, but now that trend has been turned on its head. In 2019, teenage girls reported drinking and binge drinking more than boys.
Reach Out To PreventEd
Whether you are the parent of a teen or their friend, PreventEd is here to help provide you with the resources you need to help them with their alcohol misuse. We offer a wide variety of community programs and professional counselors to connect you with local resources.
If you are a teen who has experienced difficulty with alcohol, our GuidEd program is also available for adolescents up to 19.
Since 1980, PreventEd has been conducting Teen Institute for Prevention Leaders (TI). TI is a powerful seminar designed to train high school students to prevent substance misuse among their peers. The Teen Institute:
- Provides up-to-date information regarding the consequences of alcohol and other drug use and misuse.
- Develops an understanding of prevention.
- Teaches leadership and programming strategies.
- Motivates participants to implement and/or enhance prevention programs in their schools and communities.