Being the most commonly abused drug among youth, alcohol poses a grave health threat in the US. Even though the legal drinking age in the US is 21, many young people (well below that age) continue to consume alcohol without realizing the harmful effects of alcohol consumption on their body and mind. It is estimated that around 10 million young people between ages of 12 and 20 have consumed alcohol illegally. As per the data available on the official website of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol causes around 4,700 annual deaths among underage youth. In addition to highlighting the fact that certain substantial measures are required to curb underage drinking, these figures also emphasize the importance of providing alcohol rehab facilities to people. Below, we’ve presented some information on underage drinking in the US and why it is detrimental for the health of the youth and nation.
- How prevalent is Underage Drinking?
If the surveys conducted by many reputed organizations are to be believed, underage drinking is widespread. As per the findings of a Youth Risk Behavior Survey posted on the CDC website, around 39% of underage people have consumed some amount of alcohol. It has also been found that almost 20% of underage people have indulged in binge drinking. Considering the serious health effects of alcohol abuse, these are very worrisome figures. The figures are more or less the same and reflect a growing trend of alcohol abuse among teenagers and young adults.
- Effects of underage drinking on individuals
Alcohol can lead to many serious illnesses. Liver failure, heart diseases, obesity, cancer and psychological problems are some of the negative consequences of alcohol consumption. It can also cause memory problems, nervous disorders, brain development problems and behavioral problems. Poor academic performance can also be a direct fallout of alcohol abuse. This once again highlights the importance of providing alcohol awareness and alcohol rehab facilities to young people.
- Social and legal effects of underage drinking
Alcohol causes changes in behavior and a regular drinker may find it difficult to adjust among their peers. It also impairs the decision making ability of children and also promotes risky sexual behavior. Various studies have established the link between alcohol consumption and unplanned, unprotected sexual activity. Underage drinking also leads to legal problems such as drunk driving.
Considering the widespread prevalence of underage drinking and its harmful consequences, it is important to make alcohol rehab facilities and treatment easily available to young people. Professional medical help can go a long way when it comes to helping a person overcome alcohol addiction.