Preventing early initiation of alcohol use is an important public health goal. Alcohol use causes between 4500 and 5000 deaths per year among persons younger than 21 years.1,2 The earlier young people begin drinking, the more likely they are to experience alcohol-related problems and addiction later in life. Young people who begin drinking before age 15 years are substantially more likely to become alcohol dependent than those who initiate at age 18 years or older.3 These early initiators are estimated to be 7 times more likely to be in a motor vehicle crash after drinking and at least 10 times more likely to experience alcohol-related violence at some point in their lives than those who wait until they are 21 years of age.4
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