by: Amy Otis, RN
is Binge Drinking?
the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse reported
that, More than five million high schoolers binge drink
at least once a month. As a Floridian who lives near one of
the 'Spring Break' hot spots, this comes as no great shock.
I guess there are a lot of parents out there who are surprised
by these numbers and yet, what were they doing in college or
when the drinking age was 18? How do you expect your kid to
just say no, when you said yes not that long ago?
Talk to your teenagers and be honest with them.
national surveys have documented a significant decline in the
use of other drugs by high school seniors and college-age youths,
there have been only small declines in the numbers reporting
binge drinking. Teenagers and young adults drink alcoholic beverages
at about the same rates they did 5 years ago. Binge drinking
increases the risk for alcohol-related injury, especially for
young people, who often combine alcohol with other high risk
activities, such as impaired driving. According to the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, the four leading injury-related
causes of death among youths under the age of 20 are motor vehicle
crashes, homicides, suicides, and drowning. Alcohol is involved
in many of these deaths.
with their risks of pregnancy,
STDs, and HIV
exposure, as well as date rape and other violence, can and
do occur more frequently while students are consuming large
amounts of alcohol by binge drinking.
or the partying lifestyle of young people may be related to
an environment that appears to support heavy drinking. Teenagers
report that alcohol is more easily available to them today than
it was 5 years ago, and there is a high correlation between
availability and use. In addition, alcoholic beverages remain
inexpensive in comparison with other beverages, especially beer
when purchased in kegs, often the center of a college party
or even a teenage party.
that may add to the college setting as a high-risk environment
for binge drinking is that youths on college campuses are targets
of heavy marketing of alcoholic beverages. Beer companies are
especially active in promoting to college students. Student
newspapers and campus bulletin boards boast ads for happy hours
with price reductions and other incentives that promote heavy
drinking. Representatives of the alcohol industry, including
producers, wholesalers, and retailers, sponsor campus social,
sporting, and cultural events, even on campuses where the majority
of participants are under the age of 21. If
you are age 21 and over -- drink responsibly, but you already
strategies in response to binge drinking by young people include
actions to reduce alcohol availability, such as increases in
price, and responsible beverage service practices, especially
at parties. Some communities require keg tagging, which requires
kegs to be labeled with a serial number identifying the purchaser
in case the keg is discovered at an underage drinking party.
Other strategies include restrictions on marketing and promotion
practices that glamorize heavy drinking, especially those directed
at young people.
If you were
told the party you are going to WILL have a keg (or a couple
of them), or that there will be a bartender there and mixed
drinks and you are under the legal drinking age, you might want
to consider going somewhere else that night. Think about the
risks before you go. If you are of age, please designate a driver
to drive that night. That person should NOT drink at all. It
just might save a life. Thanks!
Reasons to Drink
Check out the Blood
Alcohol Calculator and see if youre as sober when
info for teens and parents of teens.
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