That’s because alcohol can harm judgment, coordination, and reflexes. It can cause people to lose control, take chances, and do things they never would do otherwise.
As a result, teens who drink can be injured or killed, even the first time they try alcohol. In fact, alcohol is linked with an estimated 5,000 deaths in people under age 21 each year--more than all illegal drugs combined.
- Deadly car crashes. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in people aged 15 to 20. Deadly crashes involving alcohol are twice as common in teens compared with people 21 and older. That’s because teens are not as experienced with driving, and their judgment skills are harmed more by alcohol, even if they drink less than adults.
- Drowning and other deaths. Mixing drinking with swimming or boating can be fatal. Four out of 10 teens who drown have been drinking alcohol. Underage drinking has also been linked with deaths and injuries from burns, falls, alcohol poisoning, and suicide.
Will Others Survive? Drinking teens not only risk hurting themselves. They risk hurting their friends, family, and people they have never even met. Drinking teens who drive are more likely than adults to kill someone else, whether it’s passengers in their cars, people in other cars, or pedestrians.