Early Alcohol Use Raises Likelihood of Later Alcohol Abuse

Those who think that young people drinking is no big deal may have to think again. According to a report released by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, young people who drank before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence at some point in their lives than those who waited until the age of 21.

“Young people who begin using alcohol early are at a greater risk of having an alcohol problem sometime later in life,” said Marcie Seidel, Executive Director of Drug Free Action Alliance. “With many devastating effects that are associated with alcohol including the increased likelihood of car crashes, alcohol poisoning, sexual assaults and numerous health issues, it is imperative that we keep young people from drinking as long as possible.”

According to the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center (UDETC) of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, in 2009, 16.2% of all alcohol consumed in the United States were by underage youth, totaling over $23 million. It was also reported that underage drinking cost the United States over $25 billion in medical and lost work costs in 2010.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month nationally with “One Too Many” serving as the 2012 theme. Along with sexual assaults, alcohol is also the leading reason for substance use disorder treatment admissions in the State of Ohio and is implicated in more than 100,000 deaths nationally according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.