The Science - Alcohol

Summary of the Science

How does alcohol affect youth?

Alcohol can have profound effects on a child’s developing brain. It quickly affects the frontal lobe, shutting down the “high-level thinking” required for planning, self control, and complex decision making.

  • Youth who start drinking alcohol before age 15 are four times more likely to have issues with alcohol dependence or abuse as adults.
  • Underage drinking increases the risk of physical and sexual assault.
  • Alcohol use is a key contributing factor to teenage suicide.
  • Underage drinking can affect brain development in a way that has life-long effects.
  • 1 in 5 teen drivers involved in fatal car crashes has alcohol in their system.
What does use in Texas look like?

Among middle and high school students:

  • 52% of Texas middle and high school students have used alcohol at least once in their lifetime and 29% say they drank alcohol in the past month.
  • 47% of Texas high school seniors report they had alcohol in the past month, which is higher than the national average of 30%.
  • More teen girls have tried alcohol than teen boys. In Texas, 31% of female students drank in the past 30 days compared to 27% of male students.
  • 7% of Texas high school students report driving after drinking. 21% say they’ve ridden in a car with a driver who has been drinking alcohol.

Among college students:

  • 79% of Texas college students have used alcohol at least once in their lifetime. 58% reported using alcohol in the past month.
  • 37% of males and 34% of females reported binge drinking in the past month. Even more alarming, 7% of males and 4% of females reported binge drinking six or more times in the past month.
  • 1 in 5 Texas college students drive after drinking at least once a month. 22% say they’ve knowingly ridden in a car with a driver who was impaired.