Annually, over 6,500 people under the age of 21 die from alcohol-related injuries involving underage drinking and thousands more are injured! Almost 2,400 youth under 21 die in drinking and driving crashes, almost 2,400 die in other accidents, falls, fires etc., 1,500 die in alcohol-related homicides, 300 due to suicide and others to alcohol overdose.
Some important basic Facts About Underage Drinking:
* Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for America’s young people, more than tobacco or illicit drugs;
* Those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who
begin at age 21;
* Each day, 7,000 kids in the United States under the age of 16 take their first drink.
* And, underage alcohol use costs the nation an estimated $62 billion annually!
Reducing underage drinking is critical to securing a healthy future for America’s youth and requires a cooperative effort from parents, schools, community organizations, business leaders, government agencies, the entertainment industry, alcohol manufacturers/retailers and young people.
Regrettably, it remains relatively easy for teenagers to get access to alcohol and despite serious concerns, kids are flooded with media messages that glamorize alcohol use, increasing the likelihood that they will drink alcohol. In fact, underage drinking accounted for 16% of all alcohol sales.
An integral part of Alcohol Awareness Month is Alcohol-Free Weekend (April 6-8, 2012), which is designed to raise public awareness about the use of alcohol and how it may be affecting individuals, families, and the community. During this seventy-two-hour period, all Americans, young and old, are invited to participate in three alcohol-free days and to contact your local alcoholism agencies to learn more about alcoholism and its early symptoms.