Problem Drinking Prevention

| June 11, 2013

Underage Drinking and Problem Drinking Prevention

Note: The current U.S. Health and Human Services’ Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that if you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, do not exceed 1 drink per day for women or 2 drinks per day for men. According to the guidelines, people who should not drink alcoholic beverages at all include the following:

  • Children and adolescents. (Anyone under the age of 21)
  • Individuals of any age who cannot limit their drinking to low level.
  • Women who may become pregnant or who are pregnant.
  • Individuals who plan to drive, operate machinery, or take part in other activities that require attention, skill, or coordination.
  • Individuals taking prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol.
  • Individuals with certain medical conditions.
  • Persons recovering from alcoholism.

Underage Drinking:

Underage drinking is alcohol consumption by anyone under the age of 21 years of age.

kids drinking

  • Of the teens that begin drinking, most do before the age of 15. In Lane County, of the youth that reported using alcohol, ALL stated they began using before age 15. (1)
  • Teens that have their first drink before age 15 are four times more likely to become alcohol dependent at some point in their lives than those that wait until they are 21 to drink (the rate of alcohol dependence drops the closer they get to 21). (2)
  • In Lane County, almost a quarter (22.6%) of eighth grade students who reported having used alcohol, reported using in the past 30 days. (1)
  • Youth have easy access to alcohol; two-thirds (66.6%) of Lane County 8th graders and four in five (82%) of Lane County 11th graders say it is “very easy” or “sort of easy” to get beer, wine or hard liquor. (Usually from parties, friends or taking it from their homes.) (3)
  • One in three Lane County eighth graders, and almost half of Lane County 11th graders, had an alcoholic beverage at least once in the last month. (4).
Parents & Caring Adults: Learn more about what you can do. 
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Binge Drinking:

Binge Drinking is defined as having 4 or more standard drinks, for women, and 5 or more standard drinks, for men, on a single occasion (2-3 hours).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Although college students commonly binge drink, 70% of binge drinking episodes involve adults age 26 and older,
  • Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to report driving under the influence than non-binge drinkers, and
  • Almost 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the US is in the form of binge drinking.

Binge drinking is associated with:

  • Unintentional injuries (car crashes, falls, burns, drowning).
  • Intentional injuries (sexual assault, domestic violence, firearm injuries).
  • Sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Unintended pregnancies.
  • Alcohol poisoning.
  • Children born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
Parents & Caring Adults: Learn more about what you can do. 
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Category: Alcohol, Prevention Topics, Young Adults - Alcohol

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