Underage Binge Drinking: An Epidemic - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Islander Times News

Underage Binge Drinking: An Epidemic

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Posted: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 8:37 am

Having attended my fair share of high school parties, I have witnessed many dangerous things. At the time, these things seemed harmless, but now that I have been more educated about the risks of such activities, I realize the ways that teenagers behave at parties can be very threatening to our health.

Adults and teens alike are aware that drinking goes on at high school parties, even though it is illegal. Some, however, are not aware of the shocking amount of alcohol that is being consumed at these gatherings. Whether a teenager drinks because his/her friends do, because it makes them feel good, or because it eases their social anxiety, every minor should know the damage that they are doing to their bodies every time they take a drink. Stay informed. Everyone wants to feel like they’re in control, and understanding how your choices impact your health is key in doing so. A high percentage of our age group consistently consumes alcohol without actually taking into consideration the negative effects on their own bodies and the people around them.

Binge drinking is defined as the consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time. Unfortunately, this is a common thing for teenagers to do. Approximately 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the U.S. is in the form of binge drinks, and during the past thirty days, approximately 22% of teenagers were reported of binge drinking. The reason why teens binge drink is clear: they want to get drunk. Rather than drinking in a responsible way, teens drink fast and in large amounts to get that high feeling. It has gotten to a point where parties are not even about socializing, but self-medication.

As the volume of alcohol consumed increases, so does the risk of danger. When chugging alcohol at a fast rate, it quickly becomes challenging to keep track of the amount consumed. This makes alcohol poisoning a more likely occurrence. Alcohol poisoning, in addition to poor choices made while intoxicated, can lead to death. Approximately five thousand people under the age of twenty-one in the U.S. die from alcohol-related deaths every year.

People should realize alcohol is a drug. Addiction is one of the many negative effects alcohol can have. Those who begin drinking before the age of fifteen are four times more likely to become alcohol dependent than those who begin drinking at the legal age of twenty-one. Binge drinking greatly increases that risk.

Teenagers need to be more educated on the seriousness of their actions. 190,000 underage drinkers ended up in the hospital in 2008 alone. If we’re not careful, we could end up in the hospital like those kids, or even worse.

Students, let’s take care of ourselves. We are fortunate to live on such a beautiful island filled with fun activities. With the lovely beaches, delicious restaurants, and a classic movie theatre, there is no need to be drinking for a source of excitement. Rather than tearing down those who do not drink, we should be applauding them and encouraging our peers to make smarter decisions. Let’s lower the statistics and not drown our bodies in alcohol. It is time we connect on a real, unintoxicated level.

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