Binge drinking with teens:
- Teens drink alcohol less often than adults.
- But, they drink greater quantities when they do.
- Teens are more likely to mix different types alcohol.
- Binge drinking is defined as 5 or more drinks in one session.
- 24% of teens admitted to binge drinking in the last 30 days.
- All social and health problems related to drinking alcohol occur more frequently with binge drinking.
- Alcohol is the number 1 abused substance among US teenagers, above smoking and drugs.
- Teens account for 11.4% of all alcohol consumed in the US.
- 8th graders: 51.7% have tried alcohol and 15.2% have had one or more binges.
- 10th graders: 70.6% have tried alcohol, 26.5% have had one or more binges and 1.9% have drank daily for at least a month.
- 12th graders: 80% have tried alcohol, 30.8% have binged in the past 2 weeks and 3.6% use alcohol daily.
An adult is five times more likely to have alcohol dependence if their first drink is before age 15 than if at 21 years old.
Alcohol poisoning symptoms:
- Confusion, stupor.
- Slowed breathing less than 8 x per minute.
- Irregular breathing with gaps between breaths greater than 10 seconds.
- Blue tinged skin or pale skin.
- Low body temp (hypothemia).
- Unconsciousness, “passing out”.
- Slow heart rate.
- No gag reflex.
- Low blood sugar.
It is not necessary for all symptoms to be present.
A person unconscious or who cannot be aroused is at serious risk of dying.
When to call for help:
- CALL 911 if: is unconscious, breathing less than 8 x per minute, repeated and uncontrolled vomiting. NEVER assume they will sleep off the alcohol.
- CALL 800-222-1222 if conscious but have other symptoms of alcohol poisoning. This is Poison Control and all calls are kept confidential.
- Try to provide as much information as possible like kind and amount of alcohol consumed and over what time-frame.
- NEVER leave any unconscious person alone and DO NOT try to make them vomit.
MYTHS of things to do that help: black coffee, a cold shower, walking it off, sleeping it off. None of these work and the best treatment is time or a trip to the ER.
Duke University has shown teenage alcohol can seriously affect brain development, leads frequently to unplanned or unwanted sex and sometimes pregnancy, higher fatalities due to drunk driving, greater teen violence, more suicide attempts, homicides, poisonings and falls.