Addiction Related Statistics

Teen alcohol abuse statistics

  • According to recent research studies on alcoholism and teenage alcohol abuse statistics, the average age when U.S. teenagers first try alcohol is 11 years old for boys and 13 years old for girls.
  • Almost 1/3 of high school seniors surveyed stated that they had 5 or more alcoholic drinks during one drinking episode during the past 2 week period.
  • 40% of teens who began drinking at 13 years of age or younger developed an alcohol addiction later in life. This can be compared with the following:10% of teens who started drinking alcohol after 17 years of age developed alcohol dependence.
  • In a one year period of time, 10.6 million teens in  grades 7-12 consumed more than 1 billion cans of beer.
  • 1 in 4 high school seniors reported drinking some kind of alcoholic beverage on a daily basis.
  • Lifetime alcohol abuse is greatest for those who begin drinking at the age of 14.
  • Teens that drink alcohol are 50 times more likely to use cocaine than teens who never consume alcohol.
  • Children who are drinking alcohol by 7th grade are more likely to report academic problems, substance abuse, and delinquent behavior in both middle school and high school.
    Ellickson, P., Tucker, J., and Klein, D. Ten-year prospective study of public health problems associated with early drinking. Pediatrics 111(5):949-955, 2003.
  • Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are 4 times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin drinking at 21.
    Grant, B., and Dawson, D. Age at onset of alcohol use and its association with DSM-IV alcohol abuse and dependence: Results from the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey. Journal of Substance Abuse, Vol 9, Jan. 1998. Pp. 103-110.

Alcohol dependence and abuse stats

Stairway to Recovery

  • 1 in 4 high school students has a drinking problem.
  • 1/3 of all school children in the United States have used an illicit drug.
  • If therapy is recommended individual and family therapy are essential to the recovery of an alcohol-dependent or drug-addicted youth.
  • 33% of teen experience problems at home, school, work or in the community stemming from substance abuse.
  • More than 68% of 12th graders reported that they had drank alcohol at least once in the past year. While only 41% of parents thought their teen was using alcohol.
  • 21% of 6th graders reported that they had drank alcohol at least once in the past year. Yet only 5% of their parents said their 6th grader had tried using alcohol.
  • Among alcoholics worldwide, 15% report becoming dependent before age 18 and 47% became hooked before age 21. In all 2/3 became dependent before age 25.
  • The younger you are when you start drinking, the greater your chance of becoming addicted to alcohol at some point in your life. More than 4 in 10 people who begin drinking before age 15 eventually become alcoholics.
  • Heavy Marijuana users are more likely than non-users to be diagnosed with schizophrenia later in life. A recent study found that people who had used marijuana more than 50 times before the age of 18, had a three fold increased risk of developing schizophrenia later in life.
  • More than 29% of teens in treatment are dependent on tranquilizers, sedatives, amphetamines, and other dangerous stimulants (all types of prescription drugs).
  • At levels above the recommended dosage, DXM (the main ingredient in many cough syrups) is a dangerous dissociative drug like PCP (angel dust) and Ketamine (animal tranquilizer).
  • Overdoses of acetaminophen, an analgesic pain killer found in DXM-based remedies, reportedly cause more than 56,000 emergency room visits a year.
  • 8 young people die each die in alcohol-related crashes.
  • The prevalence of lifetime alcohol abuse is greatest for those who begin drinking at age 14.
  • Individuals who begin drinking before the age 15 are 4 times more likely to become alcohol dependent then those who begin drinking at age 21.
  • Marijuana was a contributing factor in more than 110,000 emergency department visits in the United States in 2001. About 15% of the patients were between the ages of 12 and 17 and almost 2/3 were male.
  • Smoking 1 to 3 marijuana joints a day produces the same damage as lung damage and cancer risk as smoking 5 times as many cigarettes.
  • The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Colombia University (CASA) found that adolescents who smoke pot are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than their non-smoking peers. They also found that 60% of adolescents who use marijuana before the age 15 later go on to use cocaine. 
  • About 30% of adolescent suicides are attributed to depression, aggravated by drug or alcohol abuse.
  • The United States has the highest rate of teen and young adult drug abuse in the world.
  • Young adults ages 18-22 enrolled in full-time college were more likely than their peers not enrolled full-time to use alcohol in the past month, to binge drink, and to drink heavily.
  • During the last 30 days, 28.5% of high school students nationwide had ridden one or more times in a car or other vehicle driven by someone who had been drinking alcohol.

Adolescent Brain Development and Drugs

  • Young people report higher rates of alcohol and marijuana abuse or dependence disorders compared to older age groups. Of youth aged15-20 years old, 12.2% met an official definition DSM-IV of an alcohol dependence disorder within the past 12 months. This rate was much higher than the older age groups.
  • A related finding from epidemiological research is that the earlier the onset of drug use, the greater the likelihood that a person will develop a drug problem. For example, among youth who began drinking at 11-12 years of age, 7.2% were found to have an alcohol use disorder within 2 years; for those who waited until age 21 to get drunk for the first time, the prevalence of an alcohol use disorder within 2 years after starting was 3.7%.
  • Early age of onset rather than duration of use is a stronger predictor of the rapid progression of substance abuse disorders; individuals with earlier onset had a shorter time span from first exposure to dependence than did adult onset groups.
  • Other risk factors for drug abuse, such as delinquent peer influences, poor parental monitoring, and alcohol availability may interact with early drug use to contribute to the progression toward a drug problem.