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Combating Underage Drinking

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 1998
2 pages
This document discusses the new Combating Underage Drinking program, a comprehensive and coordinated enforcement and alcohol use prevention program at the State level.
Underage drinking continues to plague our Nation. It not only places America's youth at risk, but places all citizens at risk on a daily basis. Recent national statistics show that: approximately 9.5 million drinkers in 1996 were youth ages 12 to 20; of this number, 4.4 million were binge drinkers, including 1.9 million heavy drinkers; almost 45 percent of students in grades 6 to 8 had used alcohol within the previous year; that number rose to 71 percent for grades 9 to 12; young people who began drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol addiction than those who began drinking at age 21; alcohol has been a factor in 50 to 65 percent of all suicides among youth; statistics show that although persons ages 15 to 20 in 1995 comprised 7.1 percent of licensed drivers, they accounted for 14.9 percent of all driver fatalities; Motor vehicle fatalities are the number 1 killer of teenagers and other young adults with more than 35 percent of such fatalities involving persons ages 15 to 20 are alcohol related; and in 1996, 2,315 youth died in alcohol-related crashes.

Date Published: February 1, 1998