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Get the Facts: Alcohol

Alcohol causes thousands of serious injuries and deaths every year. It’s especially dangerous for young people.

More than 140,000 people die from excessive alcohol use every year – that’s 380 deaths, per day.

380 /day

Those who begin drinking in their youth are seven times more likely to be in an alcohol-related crash.

7 x

95% of the 14 million people who are alcohol dependent began drinking before the legal age of 21.

95 %

Nearly one in five youths aged 12-20 years old reported drinking alcohol.

1 /5

One in 10 youths aged 12-20 reported binge drinking in the previous 30 days.

1 /10

Dangers of Alcohol

Alcohol is a factor in the deaths of thousands of people in the U.S. younger than age 21 in each year. This includes:

  • 1,092 from motor vehicle crashes.
  • 1,000 from homicides.
  • 208 from alcohol overdose, falls, burns, and drowning.
  • 596 from suicides.

Impacts on Your Brain

Alcohol negatively affects brain development.

This can cause:

  • Memory problems.
  • Aggression.
  • Health issues.
  • Damage to the liver, stomach, and heart.
  • Weight gain.
  • Impair the body’s ability to heal from injuries or illness.
  • Poor grades.
  • Risk of injury.
  • Engaging in risky behaviors.

What it looks like

Alcoholic beverages are most often identified by their strong odors.

This smell can be easily covered up, making it more difficult to identify.

What You Need to Know

  • Alcohol, especially binge drinking, can cause irreversible damage to part of your brain with lifelong effects. The brain’s prefrontal cortex assists in decision-making and controls the ability to reason – it’s not fully developed until the age of 25.
  • Among college-aged students, 696,000 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking, each year.
  • Researchers have confirmed that 1 in 5 college women experience sexual assault during their time in college. The majority of sexual assaults in college involve alcohol or other substances.

Dangers of Drinking and Driving

Drinking and driving don’t mix.

  • Don’t ever drive after drinking.
  • Don’t get in the car with someone who has been drinking, and do not let a friend drive after drinking.
  • One person dies every 45 minutes in drunk-driving crashes.
  • Alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths are up by 14%, killing 11,654 people in 2020.
  • One in four fatal crashes involves an underage impaired driver. Car crashes are a leading cause of death for teens.

Common names

Some slang terms for alcohol are booze, juice, and liquid courage.