Teens are drinking less alcohol

Teens are drinking less alcohol

Underage drinking and binge drinking have declined among teens 12 to 20 years old, according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

In 2002, 28.8 percent of teens reported drinking alcohol, but by 2013 there was a 6.1 percent decrease in those who reported drinking. In addition, binge drinking — consuming more than five drinks at one time — declined from 19.3 percent in 2002 to 14.2 percent in 2013.

“When parents communicate clear expectations and they are supported by community efforts to prevent underage drinking, we can make a difference,” said Frances M. Harding, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, in a news release. “However, there are still 8.7 million current underage drinkers and 5.4 million current underage binge drinkers. This poses a serious risk not only to their health and to their future, but to the safety and well-being of others. We must do everything we can to prevent underage drinking and get treatment for young people who need it.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 percent of teens have driven after drinking, and 22 percent have been in the car with a driver who had been drinking.

“Teens who have never consumed alcohol do not know what their ‘limit’ is,” says Dr. Stephen Crouch, an emergency medicine physician at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. “This can turn into trouble very quickly by binge drinking and become intoxicated quickly. Teens do not always know how alcohol will affect them, so they will drink and then drive or participate in other high-risk behavior where they could injure themselves. It also lowers their inhibition so they may do things they would not normally do.”

Dr. Crouch recommends bringing anyone to the emergency department if they are so intoxicated they are unable to be awoken easily, they are not able to walk without significant assistance or they do not have a reliable person to keep a close eye on them.

“The biggest risk occurs when someone has had too much to drink and  alone,” Dr. Crouch says. “This increases their risk of falling and injuring themselves or vomiting and aspirating, which can cause breathing problems.”

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One Comment

  1. dominic perrone June 22, 2015 at 1:41 pm · Reply

    Dom, please read this article. Thanks.


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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.