These are the shocking truths about alcohol, drug use among youth

Alcohol most commonly used, abused drug among youth in US, CDC says

There’s no question that that minors engage in drinking and drug use — some might even say it’s a rite of passage — but there’s also no question that it can cause some problems.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States.

According to the CDC, a study in 2017 on high school students found that, in the past 30 days:

17% rode with someone in a vehicle who had been drinking alcohol.
30% drank some amount of alcohol.
14% binge drank.
6% drove after drinking alcohol.
And here are some more startling facts from the CDC:

More than 4,300 deaths in underage people can be attributed to excessive drinking.
Underage drinkers, on average, consume more drinks per drinking occasion than adult drinkers.
People ages 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all the alcohol that’s consumed in the United States, 90% of which is consumed in the the form of binge drinking.
Roughly 119,000 emergency visits by people aged 12 to 21 in 2013 were for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol.
While we know these are all concerning, what’s more is that there are some pretty hefty consequences that can come with underage drinking — things that include, but are not limited to:

Death from alcohol poisoning.
Higher risk for suicide and homicide.
Unwanted, unprotected and unplanned sexual activity.
Memory problems.
Abuse of other drugs.
People who have a family history of abuse, poor parental monitoring and association with delinquent or substance using peers have a higher risk of drug abuse, according to the CDC.

And here’s more from the CDC:

14% of high school students have reported using drugs like cocaine, inhalants, heroin, methamphetamines, hallucinogens and ecstasy.
14% of students have reported the use of non-prescription opioids.
Youth opioid use has been linked to sexual risk behaviors.
And just as scary, the use of injection drugs puts youth at a direct risk for HIV and overdosing.

So how do we begin to combat alcohol and drug use in our youth? The CDC says we can start by having good parental monitoring, family support, school connectedness, clear disapproval of substance use and simply engaging with children.

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