Underage Drinking Harms and Kills Our Children

  • Each year, an estimated 4,700 underage youth die from excessive alcohol use.
  • Total year deaths from alcohol-related causes for youth ages 12 - 20: 4,272. Deaths from motor vehicle crashes: 2,022; homicides: 1,227; suicides, 480; and drownings: 125
  • In 2009, there were approximately 199,000 ER visits by person under the age of 21 who had been using alcohol.
  • Youth who start drinking before the age of 15 are 5 times more likely to have alcohol problems later in life than those who begin drinking at the age of 21 or older.
  • There is growing evidence to suggest that alcohol use prior to the age of 21 impairs crucial aspects of youthful brain development. In a recent study, heavy drinking adolescents who had been sober for 3 weeks still scored 10% lower than their non-drinking peers on tests requiring verbal and non-verbal recall and skills needed for map reading, geometry and science.

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