It may seem like kids and young adults are engaging in binge drinking more than ever, based on the increasing media attention given to the problem and some high-profile deaths. Most everyone has heard about the Penn State student who died after a night of binge drinking at a fraternity hazing event.
However, according to a recent report from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), binge drinking among teens and young adults in this country has actually decreased in the last six years. Binge drinking is defined as consuming at least five alcoholic drinks in one sitting, or at least over the course of a few hours.
That’s not to say that binge drinking isn’t still a problem for teens and even preteens who are still too young to legally drink alcohol. As the director of SAMSA notes, “We’ve made plenty of progress through prevention efforts, yet the work still needs to continue.”
According to the SAMSA study, which surveyed 67,500 people, 14 percent of respondents between ages 12 and 20 years old said that they’d engaged in binge drinking at least once during the past month.
In addition to the dangers if someone engages in binge drinking and gets behind the wheel of a car, simply consuming that much alcohol in a short span of time can be fatal. Some 4,300 young people under the legal drinking age die annually as the result of excess drinking.
Studies have also shown that high school students who binge drink are more likely to have sex with multiple partners and use illegal drugs — both of which have their own consequences. Of course, binge drinking also impacts their grades, which in turn can lower their chances of getting into a good college.
If your child has been arrested for underage drinking, DUI or any other alcohol-related offense, it’s essential to take the charges seriously. A conviction can have consequences from their school, cost them the opportunity for scholarship and impact their ability to get a job, both now and possibly in the future.
Source: MedicinePlus, “Fewer U.S. Kids Binge Drinking,” Randy Dotinga, accessed Sep. 12, 2017