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Just how pervasive is underaged drinking around graduation time?

Many students are often in festive moods as they celebrate finishing high school and begin their foray into adulthood. Although it may be illegal to do so, this marks a time in which many underage individuals may consume alcoholic beverages.

The fact that many individuals younger than 21 consume alcohol illegally in the United States shouldn't surprise you. It's the most commonly abused drug among minors. One statistic recently reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the U.S. is drunk by those age 11 to 20.

When underage individuals consume alcohol, CDC data shows that they often do so to an extreme. At least 90 percent of all people who engage in binge drinking are young people.

According to one poll conducted of high school students in a recent year, researchers with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that at least 35 percent of all high schoolers admitted to consuming alcohol during the 30 days prior to that survey.

Another 21 percent reported having engaged in binge drinking. At least 10 percent admitted to having driven a vehicle after consuming alcohol and another 22 percent rode in a car as a passenger with someone who had.

In addition to graduation parties, spring break, prom night, homecoming and other school events seem to be prime times that underage individuals get involved in drinking excessively.

A student beginning to fail their classes in school or exhibiting problem behavior may the be some of the earliest signs that you notice that your child is abusing alcohol. Additionally, your teen may withdraw from one set of friends and start hanging with another instead.

The attention that they once paid to how they look may diminish. You may smell alcohol on their breath, witness them slurring their speech, or witness them acting confused or having difficulty with their memory or focus.

Often times, it takes your child being charged with an alcohol-related offense before you realize just how pervasive of a problem they had. If your child has been arrested for underage drinking, then a State College underage drinking attorney can advise you of potential defense strategies that can be pursued in their case.

Source: Nova Recovery Center, "Underage Drinking and Graduation Season," accessed May 11, 2018

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