Myth: Drinking is just a phase all kids go through; they’ll grow out of it.
Fact: Many don’t grow out of it. Those who start drinking before they’re 21 are more likely to drink more later in life versus those who do not drink until they are 21. And, they continue this pattern through their 20s.
And while we wait for them to “grow out of it”, they’re:
dying in car crashes (an average of eight American youth under age 21 die every day in alcohol-related crashes);
getting hurt in accidents such as falls, burns, and drowning;
contracting sexually transmitted diseases;
becoming teenage parents;
committing crimes (physical assault, sexual assault, vandalism, robbery, theft, homicide, etc.);
becoming physical and sexual assault victims; and
costing society a considerable amount of money.
Children who are drinking alcohol by 7th grade are more likely to report academic problems, substance use, and delinquent behavior in both middle school and high school. By young adulthood, early alcohol use was associated with employment problems, other substance abuse, and criminal and other violent behavior.