28% of U.S. Kids Report Drinking Alcohol in the Past Month

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Nearly 28% of Americans aged 12-20 reported drinking alcohol in the past month, with rates for some states as high as 40%.

The Study

Data collected from the 2006-2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 27.6% of underage Americans (ages 12-20) admitted to alcohol use within the past month. Rates from individual states ranged from 13.7% (Utah) to 40% (North Dakota and Vermont).

Why Is This Important?

The three leading causes of death among people aged 12-20 are unintentional injury, murder, and suicide--all things that alcohol is known to contribute to. In addition, research shows that those who start drinking before the age of 21 are more than 4 times as likely to be classified with alcohol dependence or abuse than those who wait until 21 or older; those who start drinking before age 15 are 6 times more likely to develop alcohol problems. This suggests that the 28% of American youth in the recently released study may be at an increased risk for later alcohol problems such as alcoholism.

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