Teen drinking is declining

Teen Drinking is Declining in the U.S. – What Does This Mean?

In For Friends, For Parents by Hazel Marie

Alcohol abuse is still quite existent amongst teens and adolescents. There are deaths in the U.S related to underaged drinking everyday, believe it or not. However, studies show that this number is steadily decreasing, and teen drinking is declining.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking can be explained as having 5 or more consecutive alcoholic beverages within the span of two weeks. While being popular amongst adult alcoholics or “splurge drinkers” who binge drink alcohol a couple times a year, it is also popular amongst teens and high school students. Now in the year 2017, more and more people, of all age groups, are saying no to binge drinking while teen drinking is declining.

Since 1975, data for teen and underaged drinking has been constantly recorded. New reports show that teen drinking is declining in the U.S. One of the highest numbers to be recorded during this time included a high school senior binge drinking report of about 61%. This means that more than half of high school seniors were under the influence of alcohol in the year of 1977. In 1999, the overall percentage of binge drinking teens was 31%. That number has since been cut with 2015 reports showing barely 18% of teens are binger drinking.

While the number of teens binge drinking has gone down, the way that teens are now binge drinking has changed for the worse. We’ve stated that binge drinking is when someone has 5 or more drinks back-to-back, but that obviously doesn’t limit the drinker to just 5 drinks. Teens are now drinking heavily from 10 to 15 or more drinks in at least one night within the span of two weeks.

What Does This Mean?

Teen drinking is declining, but underaged alcohol-related deaths have been increasing over the last few years. This is because those that do drink are drinking much more heavily than teens have in the past. Not only are they drinking heavily, but they are drinking much more often.

Any teen or adolescent will find a way to obtain alcohol whether the source is a family cabinet, older sibling, aunt, uncle or even a neighbor. Having an I.D. that reads “UNDER 21” will not necessarily stop a teen from consuming alcohol. There are even bars and several locations with an alcoholic menu that do not card these teens. Nor do they assume any form of suspicion let alone kick an underaged drinking out of a bar. The U.S. is not necessarily caring less about underaged drinking, we simply cannot monitor each and every underaged individual who seeks out alcohol.

Avoiding Underaged Drinking

There is a reason why laws are put in place to discourage underaged drinking, and it’s not because of adult privilege. It 100% has to do with child health and safety. When a teen or adolescent consumes alcohol, especially heavily, they are damaging and slowing down the development of their brain. This causes live-long problems that are irreversible. An underaged individual does not have a developed enough brain to where one glass of beer will not affect them all that much. Instead, just one glass of beer can cause lifelong damage.

We don’t want to see our children, siblings or friends suffer from alcohol abuse, let alone brain damage. A teen is susceptible to violence, unwanted sexual activity and unintentional injuries when under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol poisoning is another short-term affect of underaged drinking. While it isn’t every single time, death does commonly occur when a person suffers from alcohol poisoning.

Just because the number of teens drinking is steadily decreasing, it doesn’t mean we should forget about those who are still consuming alcohol.