“I’m so hung over from last night. I didn’t wake up at my house this morning,” says a 15-year old sophomore at Rockwood Summit High School in Fenton, MO.

 In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate the number of alcohol-related deaths for the years 2001–2005 to be around 79,000 Americans, 28% of whom are between 12 and 20. Is underage alcohol consumption a bigger problem than most people think or choose to believe?

 In a study conducted at Rockwood Summit High School that consisted of 40 students (8 freshman, 15 sophomores, 9 juniors, and 8 seniors), I found that only 13% of the freshman had been drunk. However, by sophomore year, 66% of females had been drunk at least once and a whopping 75% of those drinkers couldn’t count how many times they had done so. In addition, 55% of the male sophomores had been drunk at least once.

 Eight seniors were also interviewed; it wasn’t surprising to find that 66% of the females had also consumed four or more times, and all of the males had been under the influence. 

 Most alcohol consumption was found to take place at parties or at home with friends, making drinking a social activity. One senior said, “I usually drink with my dad [at my grandma’s house].”

 According to the Marin Institute, an “alcohol industry watchdog,” not only are there physical damages to the person consuming the alcohol, such as liver disease, heart damage, and cancer, but there are also consequences that involve others. For instance, the Marin Institute places drunk driving as a leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 20, along with suicide, homicides, and other unintentional injuries.

 In addition, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that many young people who get into vehicle crashes have an illegal blood alcohol level (BAC) level. BAC shows the amount of alcohol in the blood, which is, on average, 0.08 or higher in drunk 16 to 20 year-old drivers involved in crashes.

 One rapidly rising trend, says the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, is binge drinking, which they define as “a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 grams or above.” Binge drinking can also mean drinking heavy amounts in a short period of time, which can be devastating.

 “[Underage drinking] has been around for a very long time and I don’t think it’s going away any time soon,” Tracy Shaynak, coordinator for a computer program called Alcohol Education at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, told The Daily Times.



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  1. This is an extremely relevant and well-written article! I love that you did your own research and statistics on high school students, and that you took it to the next level by contextualizing your results within the research that’s been done nationally. You used credible sources, great attribution and had a very, very cool local angle on the topic. Well done!

  2. This is ridiculous that someone under the age that would with their parents. Not only that but the parents would let him. I think that is a very interesting statement.

  3. I am suprised to find this such a large problem, I often go to parties where drinking occurs but it is never of this magnitude such like the statistics say.

  4. Under aged drinking is a bigger issue than i realized. it has become such a norm to include alcohol consumption with high school weekends and everyday to college students. this is a great article to inform people the issues of it

  5. Very good article. Good choice with the ways modern teenagers act, and information was extremely well collected. Really makes you think with those kind of numbers.

  6. Many high schoolers can relate to this article because a lot of students party and drink quite often. It’s nice to know that there are still students who care about their health.

  7. The article was written very well and is also a topic that needs to be addressed becasue it is an issue that people face. I also liked how you included a study that was done.

  8. Underage drinking is a problem all over the place.. Glad there are people who understand that and aren’t afraid to write about it.

  9. It is shocking to see how young people start to consume alcohol. This article does a very good job of presenting the effects this could have on teens.

  10. This was a very good topic considering it can relate to most teens, I wish more people would read this and take what is said to heart. Good sources

  11. great topic to write about, alot of teens are drinking and its good to be addressed with real facts and ideas about the problem.