Binge drinking quantities on the rise in teens

By Georgina Lavan 


Source: College Binge Drinking

Earlier this week, Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute provided new research into teenage binge drinking habits and the results are mixed. There has been a decline in the number of teens who are binge drinking in Australia. However, the heaviest teen drinkers in the country are consuming on average 13 standard drinks in a session.

The survey group of 3500 of the heaviest drinkers aged between 14-19 years of age saw that males consumed 15 standard drinks per session, whilst females consumed 11 standard drinks per session. The results also showed that one in five experienced black outs.

“Slowly more and more young people are choosing not to drink but the young ones who are still drinking are drinking higher amount… We’re really concerned about the harms associated with this drinking … which can include blackouts, the risk of injury, vomiting, regretted sexual behaviour and regretted social behaviours such as arguments.” Dr Tina Lam – Curtin University.

Teens that were provided alcohol by their parents, even as much as small sips, were more likely to binge drink and show dependency on alcohol. It seems that parents who feel they are assisting their children’s exposure to alcohol are doing them a disservice. It was also found that underage drinkers found it “very easy” to purchase alcohol from bottle shops, focusing on the cost and alcohol strength when selecting their drink of choice.

So, what’s the impact on your child’s health when it comes to binge drinking? According to ‘Drink wise‘ the long term risks include:

  • Alcohol dependency
  • Alcohol related brain injury
  • Cancers – including cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, bowel (in men) and breast (in women)
  • Cirrhosis and liver failure
  • Concentration and long-term memory problems
  • Family and relationship problems
  • Heart and cerebrovascular diseases including hypertension and stroke
  • Legal and financial difficulties
  • Poor nutrition
  • Poor work performance
  • Problems with the nerves of the arms and legs
  • Sexual and reproductive problems (impotence, fertility)
  • Skin problems
  • Stomach complaints and problems

Whilst parents cannot stop their children from experimenting with alcohol, it’s important to role model consumption in moderation and talk about the effects of binge drinking on children and society as a whole. ‘Better Health‘ suggests the following tactics when approaching drinking with your adolescent:

  • Start teaching your child about alcohol from an early age.
  • Explain the downside of heavy drinking, such as vomiting, head spins, passing out and hangovers.
  • Educate your teenager on the links between drinking and dangerous behaviour, such as unsafe sex.
  • Teach your teenager sensible tactics such as how to say no, standard drink recommendations, pacing themselves, alternating alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic beverages and not drinking on an empty stomach.
  • Talk about the dangers of drink-driving and plan alternatives together, such as public transport, designated drivers or calling home.
  • Encourage your teenager to talk with their friends about the dangers of alcohol, so they can come up with ways to look out for each other.

Have your say – what do you think about the latest stats regarding teen binge drinking? Have you spoken to your child in the past about drinking, and if so, what tactics did you find helpful?

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