Teenagers, according to a new report on underage drinking by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, account for 25% of all alcohol consumption in the U.S. It says that one in four alcoholic drinks consumed in the U.S. is in the hands of a teenager, something it calls a problem of epidemic proportions.
"The pit bull that's biting American teenagers is alcohol. That's the substance we've really got to put our attention to," says Joe Califano, National Center on Addiction.
The report says that nearly a third of high school students admit to binge drinking at least once a month. Specifically, four drinks in a row for girls, five for boys, and the report says girls are now just as likely to drink as boys. So, who gets the blame for all this? The report says the industry is targeting teens in its media blitz, and it calls on parents to set an example of moderation. Instead, the report says that too often parents are unwittingly helping young drinkers -- since a third of the sixth and ninth graders surveyed say they get their alcohol from their own homes.
The conclusion that underage drinkers accounted for 25% of alcohol consumption was based on the 1998 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. The number of drinks consumed by underage drinkers in a month was considered against the total number of drinks in the same period for the sample.