Too many high school seniors engage in extreme binge drinking

In Georgia, the struggle against drunk driving continues every day. From education in schools, to Georgia State Patrol troopers using checkpoints and stopping suspected drunk drivers, a great deal is being done to reduce the number of traffic fatalities caused by drunk driving accidents.

But the need remains great. Too many people are killed and too many suffer lifelong injuries that will inflict decades of pain and require lifetime medical care. So it is important to learn that binge drinking, the consumption of more than five drinks in a row, remains prevalent among high school students.

Frighteningly, almost sixth percent of high schools seniors admit to incredible binge drinking of 15 drinks or more at a single time. One wonders how it is possible to avoid alcohol poisoning or death at this level, but this extreme binge drinking continues to occur and it is disturbing to find that it has become "more entrenched" among some students.

It is all the more disturbing, given that high school students, by law, have no access to any alcohol. The overall rate of 10 percent of high school seniors engaging in binge drinking of 10 drinks in a row has remained unchanged since 2005.

The rate has fallen from the early 1990s, when lower drinking ages allowed more seniors easy access to alcohol. At that time, the rate of binge drinking was almost 40 percent.

The danger in allowing extreme binge drinking to become entrenched as a behavior is that these students get in cars and attempt to drive. At these levels of intoxication, the risk of a motor vehicle accident is very high.

It is important to better identify high school students who may be at risk and increase the level of intervention necessary to prevent extreme binge drinking.

Source: CBSAtlanta.com, "Extreme binge drinking not uncommon in high school," Lindsey Tanner, "September 16, 2013

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