The Status of Underage Drinking and Laws in Missouri
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Underage drinking presents a serious public health problem in the United States with 10.7 million youth ages 12-20 reporting consumption of alcohol. Twenty-eight percent of youth ages 12-20 report using alcohol within the past 30 days. Additionally, underage youth consumed 19.7 percent of all alcohol in 1999, spending $22.5 billion on beer, wine, and liquor. Underage drinking contributes to a host of public health problems such as homicide, suicide, injury, drowning, burns, property crime, high risk sex, fetal alcohol syndrome, and alcohol poisoning. In addition to these concerns, research indicates early onset of alcohol use is a strong predictor of alcohol dependence later in life. Youth who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence and are two and a half times more likely to become abusers of alcohol than those who begin drinking at age 21. In Missouri, one out of four youth begins using alcohol before the age of 13.
Sansing, L. (2004). The Status of Underage Drinking and Laws in Missouri. Report 61-2004. Retrieved 09-30-09, from University of Missouri - Columbia, Institute of Public Policy Web site: http://www.truman.missouri.edu/ipp/publications/briefs.html.
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