According to surveys completed by the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2008 and 2010, underage drinking is continues to be a problem in need of a solution. In the survey, participants among the ages of 12 to 20 years of age were asked about their underage alcohol purchases and consumption. Out of all the kids and young adults surveyed, a little over a quarter used and 9 percent purchased alcohol.
The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently published a report stating that even though underage drinking has gone down slightly among young adults under the age of eighteen since 2010, the numbers now are still distastefully high. Underage drinking is dangerous because some kids, if not most, do not know how to handle themselves, ultimately leading to dumb decisions. Poor academic performance, unwise sex practices, DUI, and injury are just a few of the consequences of drinking to excess at a young age.
SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde said in an agency news release, “Underage drinking should not be a normal part of growing up. It’s a serious and persistent public health problem that puts our young people and our communities in danger.”
Also reported in the study were rates of underage drinking and illegal purchases of alcohol within the U.S., showing a decidedly east coast bias. The highest rates in the Northeastern states were Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and Vermont at the top with 37 percent. New York, as well as having one of the highest rates of underage drinking, also had one of the highest rates of illegal underage purchasing of alcohol, at about 15 percent. At the other end of the spectrum, states with the lowest rates of underage youth buying alcohol include New Mexico (2.5 percent), Oregon (2.6 percent), and Idaho (2.6 percent).
Researchers also found that a number of Southern states had some of the lowest rates of underage drinking in the U.S. Those states include Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia and Tennessee. A few of them had among the highest rates of illegal underage purchasing of alcohol, those being Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Mississippi.
Underage drinking and illegal purchasing of alcohol is a huge problem among young adults in the U.S. and will continue to rise if action isn’t taken to diminish it.
- Preidt, Robert. “1 in 4 in U.S. Starts Drinking Before Turning 21: Report.” MSN:Healthy Living. Microsoft. 26 Nov. 2012. 27 Nov. 2012.