While underage drinking, or drinking among people under age 21, is common in the United States, it can have harmful outcomes. In addition to the immediate health effects of drinking alcohol, youth who drink alcohol also risk changes in brain development and disruptions in normal growth or sexual development. Youth who drink alcohol are also more likely to experience:
Alcohol use disorder and misuse of other substances
Legal problems including arrest for driving or physically hurting someone while drunk
Poor school performance including higher rates of absences or lower grades
Physical problems including hangovers and illnesses
Social problems such as fighting or lack of participation in activities
The risk of experiencing these problems is greater for youth who binge drink when compared to youth who do not binge drink.
If you or someone you know needs help with their alcohol use, call SAMHSA's confidential, free, 24/7 National Hotline at 1-800-662-4357.
Call or text 988 if you are experiencing suicidal, substance use, or other mental health crises. A trained crisis counselor is available to help you 24/7 for free. You can also visit
Resources for parents or caregivers: