February 29, 2008

It’s Just Beer

I recently learned that a friend was allowing his child, aged 16, to drink alcohol. When I questioned my friend he simply stated, "It’s just beer!"

Recent information from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows the following numbers:

59.8  — The percentage of 12- to 17-year-olds who reported talking at least once in the past year with their parents about the dangers of drug, tobacco, or alcohol use. Youths who reported having such conversations had lower rates of current drug, tobacco, or alcohol use than those who did not talk with their parents about substance abuse!

28.2 — The percentage of 12- to 20-year-olds who reported drinking alcohol in the past month. 18.8 percent of underage drinkers were binge drinkers and 6 percent were heavy drinkers. To compare, if you just look at the number of high school kids who drank in the last month, the percentage increases to 43.3!

9.9 — The percentage of 12- to 17-year-olds who have had five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days. This is called "binge drinking." To compare, if you just look at the number of high school kids who binge drank in the last month, the percentage increases to 25.5!

5.8 — The percentage of 12- to 17-year-olds who needed treatment for an alcohol use problem.

2.4 — The percentage of 12- to 17-year-olds who have had five or more drinks on the same occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days. This is called "heavy drinking." Of these kids, 60 percent also reported using illicit drugs.

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies: 2005 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, Alcohol Use Data

Alcohol and Depression

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