This is due to many factors:
The legal drinking age of 21 is based on science and medical fact.
There are many reasons why a teen starts drinking or using drugs. But it is important for parents to understand some of the core issues and influences in order to talk with their kids before it begins. According to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, the top 8 reasons why teens start drinking and/or using drugs includes:
(Source: Drug Free America)
Drinking at an early age dramatically increases the likelihood of life-long alcohol dependency.
Alcohol is the most widely used substance of abuse by American youth. More youth are drinking alcohol that are using tobacco or illicit drugs. Today, 10% of 12-year olds have had alcohol, and this percentage increases to 50% by age 15. Research has shown that drinking alcohol at an early age can lead to alcohol-related problems later in life. Of adults who started drinking alcohol before age 15, approximately 40% say they have the signs of alcohol dependence. This dependency rate is five times higher than for adults who didn’t drink until they were age 21. (Source: Journal of Substance Abuse)
More than 67% of young people who start drinking by age 15 will try an illicit drug. As compared to children who never drink, children who drink are:
(Source: Lake County Prevention Task Force)
Each year, approximately 5,000 people die as a result of underage drinking, and most of these deaths have nothing to do with operating a motor vehicle.
Underage alcohol use is a major cause of death among young people in the US.
(Source: Journal of Substance Abuse)
It's important for you to know that MOST TEENS DON'T DRINK OR DO DRUGS. Studies show that more than 70% of high school students don't drink alcohol. Teens can and do choose to not use drugs or drink alcohol.
Some of the reasons that teens give for NOT drinking include:
The majority of teens surveyed also have stated that they are less interested in being friends with or dating someone who drinks underage.
Despite the way it might seem, the reality is that the majority of teens AREN'T drinking or doing drugs. Remember - when saying "no", you are not alone!
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