Alcohol Dangers Go Beyond Drunk Driving

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Upset girl sitting on the ground

You’ve probably heard how deadly it is to drink and drive—or to get in the car with someone else who has been drinking. But the dangers of alcohol go beyond drunk driving. Did you know that of all alcohol-related teen deaths, only about one-third of those are traffic related?

Alcohol poisoning and suicide are also major causes of alcohol-related teen deaths (9% and 15%, respectively), but an even bigger cause may surprise you. A third of teen drinkers who die alcohol-related deaths are victims of homicide.

Why the connection between murder and alcohol? Under the influence, people do lots of things they wouldn’t normally do. That includes acting on emotional impulses like rage, jealousy, or sadness.

And people who have been drinking find themselves in situations they would normally avoid, like an argument with a classmate, boyfriend, or girlfriend. For instance, the FBI estimates that over 1,400 homicides in the U.S. from 2000 to 2010 resulted from a “brawl due to influence of alcohol.” 

Alcohol clouds a person’s judgment and decision-making skills. When that happens, it’s often impossible to predict the consequences.

Tell us in comments: Do these stats surprise you? If your parents talked to you about the dangers of drinking and driving, did they also mention the other dangers of alcohol? Share with us your tips to help your fellow teens avoid drinking alcohol!

Find Help Near You

Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator to find substance use or other mental health services in your area. If you are in an emergency situation, this toll-free, 24-hour hotline can help you get through this difficult time: call 1-800-273-TALK, or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We also have step by step guides on what to do to help yourself, a friend or a family member.

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