Underage Drinking Above Average in Illinois

teen drinkingWith holiday break around the corner and celebration plans underway, Gateway Foundation cautions parents that underage drinking is a common concern, according to a new report issued by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In fact, the proportion of minors who consume alcohol here in Illinois is higher than the national average.

Combined 2008 to 2010 data indicate that 28.2% of Illinois residents aged 12 to 20 drank in the past month, which is more than the countrywide average of 26.6% of underage drinkers who consumed alcohol in the past month. Furthermore, 8.52% of minors in Illinois are purchasing alcoholic beverages themselves.

“Alcohol use by minors is a serious public health issue that jeopardizes the health, potential and safety of our nation’s youth, families and communities. Underage drinking also puts young people at a higher risk for developing alcohol dependence and mental health issues,” says Gateway Foundation Clinical Director Dr. Phil Welches.

According to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, among adults aged 18 or older who first tried alcohol at age 14 or younger, 16.2% were classified with alcohol dependence or abuse, which was considerably higher than the 3.8% of adults who had first used alcohol at age 18 or older.

Children who learn the facts and dangers from their parents about illegal drug use and underage drinking are up to 50% less likely to engage in substance abuse than those who do not. Research shows that when parents talk openly about the dangers of taking drugs and drinking with their children, teens have better self-control and develop more negative perceptions of these risky behaviors.

For tips on talking to teens about substance abuse, click here.

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers
Every year Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment helps thousands of adults and teens get their life back on track and gives renewed hope to those who care about them. With 50 years of treatment experience, our specialists take the time to understand of the specific needs of each individual. We then develop a customized treatment plan with recommendations for the most appropriate care based on an individual's substance abuse and mental health history. As the largest provider of alcohol and drug abuse treatment in Illinois, Gateway has 11 treatment centers throughout the state. Gateway outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment programs are not one-size fits all, but unique treatment plans that give an individual the highest chance for a successful outcome. With insurance acceptance and a track record of success, Gateway Treatment Centers help thousands of individual’s successfully complete treatment each year, and find the hope they need to live again.

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