According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 27.6 percent of 12- to 20-year-olds in the U.S. consumed alcohol in the past month. The report showed that New England and the upper Midwest are areas of the country where underage drinking is extremely high. Underage drinking has had a hand in the deaths of many teenagers every year form drunk driving accidents. Naively, teens do not fear the problems that come with alcohol like they do the problems associated with drugs; this misconception is a large reason why teen continue to drink. The research is out there, we now know the serious health problems that accompany alcohol; yet, today's youth does not seem to heed the warnings for one reason or another.
Another major concern with underage drinking is the development of alcoholism at a young age. Countless people come into this world with a predisposition to drink alcohol that they inherited from someone in their family tree. The younger a person is when problems like these come to the surface, the harder it will be to quit when the time comes. There is no age limit to being an alcoholic; the disease of alcoholism does not discriminate. Alcoholism at a young age can be very difficult to discern, for some parents, the idea that their child could have an alcohol problem is unfathomable. Parents need to be vigilant and keep tabs on their children's activity so that if there is a problem it can be dealt with sooner rather than later. Ask Questions!
- underage drinking rates were highest in North Dakota (40.6 percent) and Vermont (40.4 percent)
- underage drinking rates were lowest in Utah (13.7 percent)
- 8.6 percent of underage drinkers were able to purchase their own alcohol, 18.8 percent in Louisiana and the District of Columbia
- Underage drinkers in Alaska (3.1 percent) and New Mexico (3.7 percent) were the least likely to report buying their own booze.
The best thing a parent can do is talk to their kids about the dangers of alcohol, find news stories to provide examples that children can understand. There is no question, parents are the first line of defense against underage drinking; kids will look for guidance and they certainly model what they witness at home. Take a Stand!