Alcohol use by young people is extremely dangerous—both to themselves and to society, and is directly associated with traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, educational failure, alcohol overdose, unsafe sex and other problem behaviors. Annually, over 6,500 people under the age of 21 die from alcohol-related accidents and thousands more are injured. Additionally:
- Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for America's young people, and is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined.
- Each day, 7,000 kids in the United States under the age of 16 take their first drink.
- Those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin at age 21.
- More than 1,700 college students in the U.S. are killed each year—about 4.65 a day—as a result of alcohol-related injuries.
- 25% of U.S. children are exposed to alcohol-use disorders in their family.
- Underage alcohol use costs the nation an estimated $62 billion annually.
Reducing underage drinking is critical to securing a healthy future for America's youth and requires a cooperative effort from parents, schools, community organizations, business leaders, government agencies, the entertainment industry, alcohol manufacturers/retailers and young people.
The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is working to help reduce alcohol use by youth. They are raising awareness while encouraging people to make healthy and safe choices when it comes to use of alcohol. Do no supply alcohol to minors, monitor alcohol you have in your home and have conversations with your teens about the dangers of using alcohol before the legal age.
For more information on what you can do to reduce alcohol use by use contact the SAFE Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-293-6412. OR you can check out their resources at www.vbsafecoalition.com