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Underage college drinkers have easy access to alcohol, pay less and consume more per occasion than older students despite the national 21-year minimum drinking age law.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health say about one-half of college students are under age 21, and regular use and abuse of alcohol is part of many students' environments. Underage students reported that it's "easy" or "very easy" to obtain alcohol, are more likely to drink in private, and can obtain alcohol inexpensively. The Boston researchers say the easy access to cheap alcohol fuels binge drinking. Underage students are more likely to experience alcohol-related problems -- such as unplanned sexual activity, injuries or property damage, trouble with police or treatment for alcohol overdose. The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, also found that students under 21 are half again as likely as of-age students to drive after drinking.

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  • Alcohol Facts
  • During 2001, 17,448 people in the U.S. died in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, representing 41% of all traffic-related deaths.
  • Approximately 1.5 million drivers were arrested in 2000 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. Thatís just over 1% of the estimated 120 million or more episodes of impaired driving that occur among U.S. adults each year.
  • Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill someone every 30 minutes and nonfatally injure someone every two minutes.
  • Nearly two-thirds of children under 15 who died in alcohol-related crashes between 1985 and 1996 were riding with the drinking driver. More than two-thirds of the drinking drivers were old enough to be the parent of the child who was killed, and fewer than 20% of the children killed were properly restrained at the time of the crash.