A new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates that 5.9 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 14 drank alcohol in the past month and that the vast majority of them (93.4 percent) received their alcohol for free the last time they drank. About 317,000 (44.8 percent) 12 to 14 year olds who drank in the past month received their alcohol for free from their family or at home. This includes 15.7 percent (or an estimated 111,000) who were provided alcohol for free by their parents or guardians.
“People who begin drinking alcohol before the age of 15 are six times more likely than those who start at age 21 and older to develop alcohol problems. Parents and other adults need to be aware that providing alcohol to children can expose them to an increased risk for alcohol abuse and set them on a path with increased potential for addiction,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.
SAMHSA Data Spotlight: Young Alcohol Users Often Get Alcohol from Family or Home is based on the combined data from SAMHSA’s 2006 to 2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) and involves responses from more than 44,000 respondents ages 12 to 14. NSDUH is a primary source of information on national use of tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs (including non-medical use of prescription drugs) and mental health in the United States. The survey is part of the agency’s strategic initiative on behavioral health data, quality and outcomes. A copy of the report is accessible at: http://oas.samhsa.gov/spotlight/Spotlight022YouthAlcohol.pdf.
For the latest information about the public health risks of alcohol misuse one can go to http://www.stopalcoholabuse.gov/. This site provides updated information about the risks, such as drunk driving, as well as new and effective prevention strategies and activities. Another SAMHSA Web site (http://www.samhsa.gov/prevention/) provides comprehensive information about SAMHSA’s substance abuse prevention research, support and public outreach activities.
SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
Media Contact: SAMHSA Press Office