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Published on Oct 16, 2007
Each day, 5,400 kids in the United States under the age of 16 take their first drink. 1 * Of the people who began drinking before age 14, 47% became dependent at some point, compared with 9% of those who began drinking at age 21 or older. 2 * 63% of 8th-graders and 83% of 10th-graders believe that alcohol is readily available to them for consumption. 3 * Almost 20% of 8th-graders, and 41% of 10th-graders have been drunk at least once.3 * Ninth-grade girls now report consuming almost as much alcohol as ninth-grade boys: 36.2% of girls and 36.3% of boys reported drinking in the past month, and 17.3% of girls and 20.7% of boys reported binge drinking.4 * 33.9% of ninth-grade students reported having consumed alcohol before they were age 13. In contrast, only 18.6% of ninth-graders reported having smoked cigarettes, and 11.2% reported having used marijuana before they were age 13.4 * Rates of drinking differ among racial and ethnic minority groups. Among students in grades 9 to 12, 29.9% of non-Hispanic white students, 11.1% of African American students, and 25.3% of Hispanic students reported binge drinking.4 * A study of 5th-through 11th-grade students found that those who are exposed to and enjoy alcohol advertisements have more favorable beliefs about drinking and say they are more likely to drink in the future and consume more alcohol.5
1 According to a February 2006 analysis by J. Gfroerer, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, calculated using the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. 2 Hingson RW, Hereen T, Winter MR. 2006. Age at drinking onset and alcohol dependence: Age at onset, duration, and severity. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 160(7):739-746. 3 Johnston LD, O'Malley PM, Bachman JG, and Schulenberg JE. 2007. Monitoring the Future national results on adolescent drug use: Overview of key findings, 2006. (NIH Publication No. 07-6202). Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse. 4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2006. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance United States, 2005. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: CDC Surveillance Summaries 55(SS-5):1-108. 5 Chen MJ, Grube JW. 2001. TV beer and soft drink advertising: What young people like and what effects? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.