This article was published in its entirety on TheDoctorWillSeeYouNow.com, and written by Esther Entin, MD.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published a policy statement on “Alcohol Use by Youth and Adolescents.” In addition to being a call to action to health care providers, the statement offered a compelling look at what research tells us about teenage drinking.
A survey done in 2009 asked 46,000 students whether they had used alcohol in the previous month. Over 5 percent of the eighth graders, 15.5 percent of tenth graders, and 27.4 percent of twelfth graders reported that they had been drunk at least once in the previous thirty days. Over 90 percent of twelfth graders and 60 percent of eighth graders reported that alcohol was easy to obtain.
Bingeing, Driving and Social, Sexual, and Other Risks
Teenagers tend to binge drink and these episodes of heavy drinking carry high risk of alcohol poisoning or overdose. The definition of binge drinking, consuming five or more drinks within a few hours, is actually quite high for teens since they become intoxicated on less alcohol. When drinks are consumed in rapid succession, the tendency is for the teen to be suddenly very intoxicated, in a manner that makes it difficult for them to think clearly, make responsible decisions, and keep themselves and their friend’s safe.
Motor-vehicle accidents are the top cause of death for teens and young adults in the United States. A survey done in 2007 showed that 29 percent of surveyed students had, in the month preceding the study, ridden at least once in a vehicle whose driver had been drinking. Ten percent of the students had themselves driven while intoxicated. Numerous studies have shown that drinking and driving are a deadly combination for teens.
Teen drinking is also associated with increased risk of suicide and excessive use of alcohol is often found in teens with . . .
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