Local Data

Myth
Most kids drink. It is just a phase all kids go through.

Fact
•Most kids do NOT drink. 68% of Waconia 11th grade students report not using any alcohol in the last 30 days.[1]

•However, a higher percentage of Waconia High School students report using alcohol than the Minnesota average.

•Underage drinking does not need to be a phase. In fact, most kids choose other options, and we want the rest of our kids to choose better options.

Myth
Alcohol isn’t as harmful as other drugs.

Fact

  • One in three 18 to 24 year olds admitted to emergency rooms for serious injuries are intoxicated. Alcohol is also associated with homicides, suicides, and drowning.
  • Alcohol serves as a gateway to other drugs. Waconia High School students who use alcohol are over 11 times more likely to be marijuana users, 10 times more likely to use tobacco, and 13 times more likely to have used other drugs.[1]
  • Youth who start drinking before age 15 years are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21 years.

Myth
Occasional binge drinking does not really affect athletic or academic performance.

Fact

  • Consuming five or more alcoholic beverages (males) or four or more (females) in just one night can affect your brain and physical activities for up to three days. It limits muscle growth, muscle recovery, reduces reaction time and depletes energy. It affects memory and reduces your brain’s ability to process information.

Myth
There is not much I can do as a parent to prevent my child from drinking. Kids will be kids.

Fact

  • Young people say that they rely on adults in their lives more than anyone else to help them make tough decisions and to provide good advice.
  • Waconia students whose parents have lesser disapproval or do not care about alcohol use are 2 ½ times more likely to use alcohol and other drugs during the school day. Students who do have a strong rapport with both parents are three times more likely to think their parents would strongly disapprove if they drank alcohol/took illegal drugs.[1]

References

[1] Minnesota Student Survey 2013

National Data

FACT: Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States, more than tobacco and illicit drugs, and is responsible for more than 4,300 annual deaths among underage youth.

FACT: Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States.

FACT: Students who use alcohol are over eleven times more likely to be marijuana users.

FACT: Students who use alcohol are thirteen times more likely to have used other drugs.

FACT: Students who use alcohol are ten times more likely to use tobacco.

FACT: Youth who start drinking before age 15 years are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21 years.

FACT: For the population on a whole, 50% of violent deaths are associated with alcohol. The specific percentage for youth is unclear, but one study estimates it at 32% for homicides and 23% of suicides (Smith, Branas, & Miller, 1999).

References

1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2007.

2. Bonnie RJ and O’Connell ME, editors. National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility. Committee on Developing a Strategy to Reduce and Prevent Underage Drinking. Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2004.

3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. The DAWN Report: Highlights of the 2010 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) Findings on Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits [PDF-410KB]. Rockville, MD; 2012.