Binge drinking continues its popularity with teens

From health consequences to driving concerns, teen drinking poses a great many problems. One aspect, binge drinking, has become quite popular among the under-21 crowd. Since it is not an activity that happens every night, teenagers tend to shrug off what responsible adults see as an alarming pattern of behavior. Unfortunately, parents might be unaware of this underage drinking phenomenon until serious issues arise and legal counsel is needed.

Why they do it

The journey from adolescence to young adulthood is not an easy one. Along with developmental growth, there are major changes, both physically and emotionally, taking place with teenagers. As these years roll along, young teens look forward to becoming more independent. Experimentation often involves risk-taking, and that is where the interest in alcohol comes in. When they go out with their friends, teens might experiment with drinking. It may be a little at a time, say a sip or two from a bottle of whiskey their parents keep on hand. Alcohol is easy to come by, and binge drinking-defined as four or more drinks for females and five or more for males-soon becomes the thing to do. Young teenagers, especially, do not believe that anything bad can happen because they think of themselves as invincible.

A glimpse inside the teen brain

MRI brain scans reveal that teenagers who drink heavily have damaged nerve tissue. Research shows that the brain can be harmed by excessive drinking because it continues to develop until a person is well into his or her 20s. Alcohol can cause long-term damage; memory, coordination and movement can all be impaired. In addition, teens who start drinking at an early age increase their chances of becoming alcohol dependent.

The problem of drinking and driving

According to information gathered by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), vehicle crashes are the main cause of teen deaths. Statistics show that one in six teens is guilty of binge drinking and that 4,700 people are killed on the road each year as a result of teen alcohol use. When you realize that a quarter of the fatal car crashes involving teens are caused by underage drinking drivers, you can see the importance of educating teenagers about the dangers of alcohol and the responsibility they have as motorists.

Binge drinking and the unintended consequences

While alcohol is generally thought to be more attractive to boys, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that one in five high school girls engages in binge drinking. In addition to the concern over drinking and driving, parents must be aware that alcohol use among young people can result in suspension from athletics or other activities and expulsion from school. When a teenager faces charges related to alcohol consumption, an attorney experienced with such cases is standing by to help.