Topic 2 What Is Underage Drinking? What Is “A Drink” Anyway?

When anyone under age 18 drinks alcohol, we call it underage drinking. Underage drinking is also dangerous. It can harm the mind and body of a growing teen in ways many people don’t realise.

Yet, children and teens still drink, even though it can harm them. Underage drinking is a serious problem, with roots deep in our culture. It’s time to take action. It’s time to stop looking the other way. It’s time to tell children and teens that underage drinking is not okay. It will take a lot of work over time to change how people think about underage drinking.

In any month, more youth are drinking than are smoking cigarettes or using marijuana.

As they grow older, the chance that young people will use alcohol grows. Researchers show approximately 10% of 12-year-old say they have used alcohol at least once. By age 13 that number doubles. And by age 15, approximately 50% have had at least one drink.

Alcohol dependence is a term doctors use when people have trouble controlling of, or preoccupation with, alcohol occurs to the extent that it interferes with normal personal, family social, or work life. Alcohol dependence rates are highest among young people between ages 18 and 20. And they’re not even old enough to drink legally.

  • The greatest influence on young people’s decisions to begin drinking is the world they live in, which includes their families, friends, schools, the larger community, and society as a whole.
  • Alcohol use by young people often is made possible by adults. After all, teens can’t legally get alcohol on their own.

A drink can some in many forms. It can be a shot of hard liquor or a mixed drink containing vodka, rum, tequila, gin, scotch, etc. It can also be wine, a wine cooler, beer, or malt liquor.

A standard drink is any drink that contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol. This is the amount of alcohol usually found in:

  • 341 ml of beer;
  • 142 ml of wine;
  • 43 ml of 80 proof liquor

But not all drinks are standard drinks. In fact, different drinks often drinks often have different amounts of alcohol. Mixed drinks may contain more than one shot of liquor, and different beers or wines may not have same amount of alcohol in them, even when the drinks are the same size. For example, some beers and beer products have more alcohol than others.