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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

20 Percent of High School Seniors Binge Drink

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Binge drinking is a common practice amongst teenagers and young adults, having 5 or more drinks on one occasion. 20 percent of high school seniors say they have engaged in binge drinking in the last two weeks, according to a new study.

A survey was conducted of more than 16,000 students between 2005 and 2011, Reuters reports. The report found that boys were more likely than girls to binge drink, as well as extreme binge drinking, having more than 10 drinks on one occasion. White students were more likely than black and Hispanic students to be extreme binge drinkers. Extreme binge drinkers were more likely to live in the South and in rural areas.

Ten percent of high school seniors say they have had 10 or more drinks on one occasion and 5.6 percent had consumed at least 15 drinks.

“Students were drinking two or three times the typical binge drinking threshold,” said University of Michigan researcher Megan Patrick. “Consuming 10 or 15 drinks at one time is a lot of alcohol, especially for a teenager. Understanding the negative consequences that go along with these very high rates is important.”

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s (NIAAA), Ralph W. Hingson and Aaron White, point out that levels of binge drinking have been decreasing among teens, but teenage drinking medical emergencies have not decreased.

“These findings might help explain why some consequences of underage drinking, such as hospitalizations for overdoses, are on the rise, despite general declines in binge drinking,” they wrote.

The findings appear in JAMA Pediatrics.
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