Teen Binge Drinking

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New research is out on binge drinking by teenagers, and it’s a good news/bad news story.

First the bad news: according to USA Today, the new study found  one in 10 high school seniors  are “extreme binge drinkers,” knocking back as many as 15 or more drinks in one session.

The good news—if you can call it that—is that the total number of seniors who binge drink has gone down slightly, from 22 percent to 18.1 percent.

Unfortunately, the percentage extreme binge drinking has stayed virtually the same in recent years, which may explain why emergency room visits for kids in this age group hasn’t decreased.

Binge drinking can lead to injuries, accidents, alcohol poisoning and drowning. It can also cause impaired driving ability and increase the risk of liver damage and alcohol dependence.

Megan Patrick is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.  She says that “consuming high levels of alcohol at this age can alter brain development.”

Here are a few of the other findings: boys were more likely than girls to participate in all levels of binge drinking.

High school seniors with college-educated parents were more likely to binge drink; but students who did not have college-educated parents were more likely to engage in extreme binge drinking.

And students from rural areas were more likely to engage in extreme binge drinking than students in urban or suburban communities.

To learn more about what YOU can do to prevent your child from binge drinking, visit the website of Mothers Against Drunk Driving at madd.org.

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