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Do you know the facts about underage drinking?

While everyone knows that the law forbids alcohol consumption by those under 21, 11 percent of the total alcohol that is consumed annually in the United States is drunk by those between the ages of 12 and 20. Even more frightening, over 90 percent of that amount is drunk during an episode of binge drinking. Read on to learn more about the perils of underage drinking.

-- Among young people in America, alcohol is the number one mind-altering substance that is used and/or abused.

-- Those 20 and under drink more alcoholic beverages on each episode of underage drinking than those of legal age.

-- Drinking to excess is the cause of over 4,300 annual fatalities for those younger than 21 in the United States, at a price of $24 billion in one recent year.

-- In one year alone, around 189,000 of those 20 or younger had to be seen in hospital emergency rooms for alcohol-related problems.

According to a survey from 2013, in any given 30-day period, high school students engaged in the following unsafe drinking behaviors:

-- 35 percent drank an alcoholic beverage

-- 22 percent allowed a driver who had consumed alcohol to give them a ride

-- 10 percent admitted to driving after they themselves drank alcohol

-- 21 percent binge drank

There are many consequences of underage drinking, and the effects on all sectors of a young person's life. Some are minor inconveniences, such as hangovers, that can influence work or school performance. There can be serious health ramifications in later years from alcohol-related illnesses, as well as an enhanced risk of accidents and injuries due to being impaired. Suicide and homicide rates are higher in those who engage in underage drinking.

There are also a plethora of legal problems for those with convictions for underage drinking, driving under the influence and more. A youthful conviction can dodge an adult's steps for many years to come, restricting opportunities and becoming obstacles to careers and even education and housing, in some cases.

If you have been arrested for underage drinking, you may be able to beat the charge by presenting an aggressive defense to the allegations.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Underage Drinking," accessed April 28, 2016