Data Made Easy: Alcohol

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The Truth About Alcohol

Download the Truth About Alcohol Fact Sheet

WHAT IS ALCOHOL?

Alcohol is a depressant. It is derived from the natural fermentation of fruits, vegetables and grains. These are brewed and distilled into a wide range of beverages with various alcohol contents.

 

HOW ARE IT CONSUMED?

Alcohol is a liquid. Types include beer, wine, and liquor.

 

WHAT ARE THE SHORT TERM EFFECTS?

Effects vary based on several factors including, height, weight, age, sex, and amount of food consumed. They include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Nausea, and vomiting
  • Impairs the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely

 

WHAT ARE THE LONG TERM EFFECTS?

  • Alcoholism (Dependence and Addiction)
  • Permanent damage to organs including kidneys, liver, and the brain
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - Mental retardation and other physical abnormalities

 

WHAT IS UNDERAGE DRINKING
 

Underage drinking is when anyone under the minimum legal drinking age of 21 drinks alcohol.

HOW WIDESPREAD IS UNDERAGE DRINKING?

  • By age 15, more than 50 percent of teens have had at least 1 drink.
  • By age 18, more than 70 percent of teens have had at least 1 drink
  • In 2009, 10.4 million young people ages 12–20 reported that they drank alcohol beyond “just a few sips” in the past month.

 

WHY DO SO MANY YOUNG PEOPLE DRINK?

Many youth want to try alcohol, but often do not fully recognize its effects on their health and behavior. Other reasons young people drink alcohol include:

  • Peer pressure
  • Increased independence, or desire for it
  • Stress

 

WHAT IS BINGE DRINKING?
 

Binge drinking means drinking so much within about 2 hours to reach the legal limit of intoxication.

  • 18.8 percent of 16-17 year old boys engage in binge drinking
  • 14.9 percent of 16-17 year old girls engage in binge drinking

 

Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Above the Influence, The Partnership at Drugfree.org

 

YOUTH RISK BEHAVIOR SURVEY 2011