A recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared its findings on the prevalence of excessive drinking in high school students. While the report surveyed and studied alcohol consumption among high school students, it specifically focused on binge drinking, which is classified by drinking multiple drinks within a short amount of time.
The report found that, each year for the past 10 years, alcohol consumption was responsible for close to 4,300 deaths among persons under the age of 21. It also found that while the overall rate of drinking has reduced among high school students, one in six are still considered binge drinkers. In fact, almost half of the high school students that were reported as binge drinkers admitted they typically consumed eight or more drinks in a row.
High-risk drinking, namely binge drinking, greatly increases the risk for alcohol-related accidents and crimes, such as violence, accidental injuries, alcohol poisoning, sexual assaults, motor vehicle accidents, and death. All of this is alarming in its own right, but what does it mean for public health and our communities?
It is vital that we continue to educate young students about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption, as well as the legal consequences of alcohol consumption underage, in general. Communities and cities must provide evidence-based prevention strategies for excessive drinking, as well, to continue to help reduce underage drinking as a whole. Parents and other adults over the age of 21 must understand the negative consequences of providing alcohol for minors, and policies relating to this could help to reduce alcohol consumption by minors significantly.