According to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), there are an estimated 10.8 million underage (12-20 years) current alcohol users within the United States, 19.2% of which engage in heavy episodic use and 6.2% are heavy users .
According to the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System 2007, nearly a quarter of high school students nationwide (23.8%) reported used alcohol prior to age 13 . Similarly, an analysis of the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHNES) indicates that among 12-17 year olds surveyed 16% had a drink before age 13 and 8% at age 10 or younger . This number is even higher for youth that reported current alcohol use. Of those 12-17 year olds that reported current alcohol use, 33% had their first alcoholic drink before age 13 and 18.5% at age 10 or younger.
forms of risky alcohol use:
Usage, both current and heavy episodic use increase throughout the adolescent experience.
Current Use Among Persons Aged 12-20, NSDUH 2007
Rates of Heavy Episodic Use , NSDUH 2007
Current Use and Heavy Episodic Use Among High School Students, YRBS 2007
Early initiation and heavy episodic use by youth is concerning because of the strong relationships between alcohol use and other behaviors such as sex without contraception, delinquency, school failure, and school drop-out [5-10]. Additionally, early onset of alcohol use in adolescence increases the risk of problems later in life, including later alcohol dependency . Those who initiate prior to age 13 are more likely to report delinquent behavior in the future .
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