Teen Alcohol Abuse
Teen alcohol abuse has become widespread, with studies around the world documenting the same problem on a number of different continents: Children are drinking at an early age. In some areas, the numbers of kids drinking at a young age are increasing and the age of initiation is dropping. In other areas, these figures start high and are staying high.
But while teen drinking is bad enough, that’s not the whole of the problem. Here’s the worse problem: Children who initiate drinking at an early age constitute nearly all of those who wind up with addiction problems later.
Europe, South Africa, North America - Teens Drinking at an Early Age in All Areas
Reports from all three areas report similar problems. In South Africa, it’s reported that 35 percent of adolescents drink alcohol, and 29 percent binge drink. Many children start drinking when they are nine and some are alcohol-dependent by the time they are 11. The Executive Director of the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that the problem is getting worse, more children are involved and the ages are dropping. A contributing factor is the adults around the children not drinking responsibly.
In Europe, a study from 2007 showed that 61 percent of 15-16 year olds had consumed alcohol in the prior month and 43 percent reported binge drinking. Teenaged girls in particular showed an increase in the number consuming alcohol, rising from 35 percent in 1995 to 42 percent in 2007.
Eastern Europe statistics showed dramatic increases in teen drinking. In a study that compared survey results from 1997-1998 with newer data from 2005-2005, teen drunkenness rose 40 percent among Eastern European teens. Here too, girls showed a greater increase than boys.
Statistics are no better in the US. By the time American high school students graduate, nearly three quarters of them have drunk alcohol.
But the current study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University takes their study a step further than most others. They track down people who have become addicted to drugs or alcohol in later life and find out what their early substance abuse activities were like. Of these people, nine out of ten who meet the criteria for substance abuse problems began abusing substances before they turned 18 years of age.
Looking at this statistic from the other side, people who start abusing any addictive substance before they turn 15 are more than six times more likely to wind up with a substance abuse problem as those who delay abusing of any substances until they are 21 or older.
Far more American children abuse alcohol than any other substance - even cigarettes. The costs of this underage drinking add up quickly. In just the US, it’s estimated that underage drinking accounts for $68 billion in costs each year.
US Treatment Admissions Provides Hard Evidence of Damage Caused by Early Drinking
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration monitors the number of people who enter treatment programs for addiction, what drug sent them there, and the age at which these people started using that drug. Their breakdown for 2007 reveals the damage that early drinking does. Of the 406,038 who entered recovery programs for alcohol abuse that year, fully 88 percent of them started drinking when they were underage. Amazingly, 30 percent were 14 or younger.
Nothing Means a Person Must Resign Himself to Being an Addict
If a person starts to drink young and then finds himself or herself addicted to alcohol or other drugs, there is still a way out.
There are some 40 Narconon drug rehabilitation centers around the world.
The Narconon program not only addresses the debilitating effects of drug abuse on the mind and body, but also resolves why a person turned to drugs in the first place. As a result, a person can graduate from the program into a new life free from drug use.
Find out how you can help someone who has been addicted to one of these drugs.