As young people grow older, the chance that they will use alcohol grows. About 10% of 12-year-olds say they have used alcohol at least one time. That number doubles by age 13. And by age 15, approximately 50% have had at least one drink.
Alcohol dependence is a term doctors use when people have trouble controlling their drinking, and when their consumption of, or preoccupation with, alcohol occurs to the extent that it interferes with normal personal, family, social, or work life. Alcohol dependence rates are highest among young people between ages 18 and 20. And they’re not even old enough to drink legally.
The greatest influence on young people’s decisions to begin drinking is the world they live in, which includes their families, friends, schools, the larger community, and society as a whole.
Alcohol use by young people often is made possible by adults. After all, teens can’t legally get alcohol on their own.
Most young people who start drinking before age 21 do so when are about 13-14 years old. That’s why it’s important to start talking early and keep talking about underage drinking. And that’s why ALL adults working with young people should send the same message that underage drinking is not cool man.