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Approximately one-half of U.S. adults report a family history of
alcoholism or problem drinking. Nearly 14 million Americans have alcohol
and Club TNT
share factual information about alcohol use and abuse and other
addictions. We do not endorse any programs of recovery, but hope to help connect people with resources to make positive lifestyle choices.
April is Alcohol Awareness month - a time each year to think
about alcohol use and abuse. Its especially important to talk about
underage drinking. While many talk about kids and illicit drugs, it
is alcohol that remains the No. 1 drug problem for young people.
Alcohol has a long history. It has been used in religious ceremonies,
as a medicine, and socially for thousands of years. Laws and codes of
conduct governing its use and misuse have been a part of human culture
throughout history. Some people can use alcohol occasionally and
responsibly, while for others the effect of alcohol can be devastating.
Herein lies the complexity of alcohol use.
Alcohol is a psychoactive substance, which means that it has the ability
to change consciousness and to alter perceptions and behavior. The alcohol
found in beverages is known as ethanol or ethyl alcohol. This is the only
type of alcohol that is safe to consume, and then only in small
While there is much controversy over the many problems associated with
alcohol, the fact is that a large segment of the population chooses to
consume alcoholic beverages. Many people begin drinking during early
The use of alcohol by college students is a major problem. People in
their 20's and 30's comprise the group most often arrested for drunkenness
and for driving while intoxicated. However, even senior citizens are not
immune to alcohol abuse.
Approximately half of all alcohol is consumed by just ten percent of the
drinking population. A host of social issues plagues this group of heavy
drinkers. Lost work time, family pathologies, and medical factors are just
a few of the complications associated with alcohol abuse.
Consider these facts from the
The National Council on
Alcoholism and Drug Dependence:
About 10.4 million Americans between ages 12-20 had at least one drink
last month; of these 6.8 million were "binge" drinkers (consuming five or
more drinks in a row on a single occasion) including 2.1 million heavy
drinkers (consuming five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least
five different days)
80% of high school seniors have used alcohol; in comparison, 62% have
smoked cigarettes; 49% have used marijuana; and 9% have used cocaine.
Purchase and public possession of alcohol by people under the age of 21
is illegal in all 50 states.
Approximately 2/3 of teenagers who drink report that they can buy their
own alcoholic beverages.
Use of alcohol and other drugs is associated with the leading causes of
death and injury (e.g., motor-vehicle crashes, homicides, and suicides)
among teenagers and young adults.
The total cost of alcohol use by youth--including traffic crashes,
violent crime, burns, drowning, suicide attempts, fetal alcohol syndrome,
alcohol poisonings and treatment--is more than $58 billion per year.
Use of alcohol or other drugs at an early age is an indicator of future
alcohol or drug problems.
First use of alcohol typically begins around the age 13; marijuana
People who begin smoking before age 13 are significantly more likely
than nonsmokers and those who begin smoking later to have problems with
alcohol and other drugs.
Among high school seniors, current use of alcohol is higher for whites
and Hispanics than blacks; the same is true for marijuana, but with
greater similarity in the rates of use.
Approximately 8% of the nation's eighth graders; 24% of tenth graders;
and 32% of twelfth graders have been drunk during the last month; 12%, 23%
and 25%, respectively, have used an illicit drug.
Among teenagers who binge drink, 39% say they drink alone; 58% drink
when they are upset; 30% drink when they are bored; and 37% drink to feel
Junior/middle and senior high school students drink 35% of all wine
coolers sold in the United States; they also consume 1.1 billion cans of
40% of college students have "binged" on alcohol during the past two
Among college students in one survey, rates of binge drinking were
highest among Caucasians, 43.3% for males and 24.4% for females; among
African-Americans the rates were 24.8% for males and 5.4% for females; and
among Asians, 32% for males and 20% for females.
Young adults ages 18-25 are most likely to binge or drink heavily. 54%
of the drinkers in this age group binge and about one in four are heavy
Drivers under the age of 25 were more likely than those 25 or older to
be intoxicated in a fatal crash.
The prevalence of drinking and driving increases substantially among
youth and young adults with the frequency of alcohol use and is strongly
associated with binge drinking.
Drivers ages 21-24 had the highest intoxication rates (27%) for fatal
crashes in 1996.
In 1995, 21.5% (262,112) of the clients admitted to alcohol or other
drug treatment programs were under age 24, including 18,194 under age 15.
A clear relationship exists between alcohol use and grade-point average
among college students: students with GPAs of D or F drink three times as
much as those who earn As.
31.9% of youth under 18 in long-term, State-operated juvenile
institutions in 1987 were under the influence of alcohol at the time of
Almost half of college students who were victims of campus crimes said
they drinking or using other drugs when they were victimized.
Researchers estimate that alcohol use is implicated in one- to
two-thirds of sexual assault and acquaintance or "date" rape cases among
teens and college students.
Among sexually active teens, those who average five or more drinks
daily were nearly three times less likely to use condoms, thus placing
them at greater risk for HIV infection. Among all teens who drink, 16% use
condoms less often after drinking.
80% of teenagers don't know that a 12 oz. can of beer has the same
amount of alcohol as a shot of whiskey; similarly, 55% don't know that a 5
oz. glass of wine and a 12 oz. can of beer have the same amount of
56% of students in grades 5 to 12 say that alcohol advertising
encourages them to drink.
30% of children in grades four through six report that they have
received "a lot" of pressure from their classmates to drink beer; 31% to
try marijuana; and 34% to try cigarettes.
A survey of high school students found that 18% of females and 39% of
males say it is acceptable for a boy to force sex if the girl is stoned or
Teenagers whose parents talk to them regularly about the dangers of
drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those whose parents don't, yet
only 1 in 4 teens reports having these conversations.