OJJDP Bulletin: Underage Drinking Still a Major Problem for Teens, Society

OJJDP posted findings from an underage drinking literature review in their September Juvenile Justice Bulletin. The review focuses on how drinking can affect teens’ mental and physical well being--highlights from the bulletin are included below (emphasis mine):

  • The human brain continues to develop until a person is around age 25. Underage drinking may impair this neurological development, causing youth to make irresponsible decisions, encounter memory lapses, or process and send neural impulses more slowly.
  • Underage drinking cost society $68 billion in 2007, or $1 for every drink consumed. This includes medical bills, income loss, and costs from pain and suffering.
  • In 2009, 19 percent of drivers ages 16–20 who were involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol concentration over the legal adult limit (0.08).
  • Alcohol use encourages risky sexual behavior. Youth who drink may be more likely to have sex, become pregnant, or contract sexually transmitted diseases.

OJJDP hopes that their series highlight the negative aspects of underage drinking can help empower communities to use evidence-based practices to reduce teen alcohol abuse.
The full bulletin is available online and includes additional details on the factors that contribute to underage drinking, along with more information on physical and mental consequences.  

juvenile-justice-system_David-BackesDavid Backes writes the Friday news roundup for Reclaiming Futures and contributes articles about juvenile justice reform and adolescent substance abuse treatment to ReclaimingFutures.org. He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Santa Clara University. David works as an account executive for Prichard Communications.
 *Image at top via Flickr user Duicom

Updated: September 19 2012