Talk to Your Teens About the Consequences of Binge Drinking

According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), new estimates show that binge drinking is a bigger problem than previously thought. More than 38 million U.S. adults binge drink, about 4 times a month, and the largest number of drinks per binge is on average 8. Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men on an occasion. Drinking too much, including binge drinking, causes more than 80,000 deaths in the United States each year, making it the third leading preventable cause of death.

Furthermore, alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States – more than tobacco and illicit drugs. Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States. More than 90% of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinks.

Make sure you talk to your kids openly about the consequences of this critical issue. Some of these consequences include poor or failing grades, legal problems, such as arrest for driving, unplanned and unprotected sexual activity, higher risk for suicide, alcohol-related car crashes and other unintentional injuries, abuse of other drugs, and death from alcohol poisoning. In addition, keep these helpful tips in mind:

  • Help your child or teen build their self-esteem. Emphasize and reinforce their strengths and healthy behaviors. They are more likely to say no to peer pressure when they feel good about themselves and proud about their healthy habits.
  • Be a good role model. Consider how your use of alcohol may influence your kids. Consider offering non-alcoholic beverages at parties and social events to show your kids that you don’t need to drink to have fun.
  • Teach kids to manage stress in healthy ways, such as by seeking help from a trusted adult or participating in a sport or hobby they like.
  • Look for signs, such as alcohol odor or alcohol disappearing from your home. Be mindful of a sudden change in mood or attitude in your child. This includes a change in attendance or performance at school, loss of interest in sports or other activities, and withdrawal from family and friends.

To learn more about binge drinking, click here for the report from the CDC:
http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/BingeDrinking/index.html#Problem

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