Risks of Underage Drinking

Drinking in teens …

  • is responsible for more than 4,300 annual deaths among underage youth.
  • is linked to 189,000 emergency rooms visits by people under age 21 for injuries and other conditions.
  • contributes to the likelihood of risky sexual behavior, including unwanted, unintended and unprotected sexual activity, and sex with multiple partners.
  • increases the risk of encountering legal problems, such as being arrested for drunk driving or
  • physically hurting someone while drunk.
  • increases the risk of physical and sexual assault.
  • increases the risk for suicide and homicide.
  • increases the risk of memory problems.
  • increases the risk of using and misusing other drugs.
  • increases the risk of changes in brain development that may have life-long effects.
  • is a risk factor for heavy drinking later in life, which can lead to other medical problems (youth who start drinking before age 15 are almost five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21).


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