The legal drinking age is 21, but one study found that the average age at which people drank for the first time was just 14. That’s just two-thirds of the way to the legal age, and it shows why underage drinking is such a common reason for arrest. It’s not just a lot of people who are 19 and 20 and cannot wait, but many younger children.
In fact, another study claimed that 75 percent of students in 12 grade had consumed alcohol. Most high school seniors are just 17 or 18 years old.
For those in 10th grade, who are typically around 16 years old — and legally allowed to drive, in many cases — the study found that a full two-thirds had already drank alcohol. Even at the end of middle school, two-fifths of 8th-grade students had drank.
Moreover, the study found that intense drinking was common. This is often called binge drinking, and it refers to having four or five alcoholic beverages at once. A full 11 percent of those in 8th grade had done it within just two weeks of the study. For 10th-graders, the number jumped to 22 percent. For seniors, it jumped again to 29 percent.
Has your son or daughter been picked up for allegedly drinking while underage? You may feel shocked — many parents do — and that’s understandable.
That being said, it’s important to understand the statistics so that you know just how common this is, even if children tend to hide it from their parents. You may also want to look into all of the legal options you and your child have.
Source: NIAAA, “Underage Drinking,” accessed July 18, 2017