Alcoholism & Addiction

Desire to Fit In Outweighs Potential Risk for Binge Drinking, Says Many Teens

Teens are starting to use alcohol at younger ages than ever, with some starting at age 12 or below, says a recent study highlighted in a Fox 34 News report. Experts believe it is related to shifting attitudes among teens, with many becoming lax toward alcohol use in a binge drinking setting.

Kitty Harris of the Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery at Texas Tech, says the study also showed that teens don’t perceive the risks related to binge drinking, which she explains as a drinking episode of five or more alcoholic beverages in a short period of time. Dangers include being involved in a vehicular accident or participating in dangerous behaviors with no memory of them later.

Harris also expressed fears that teens who binge drink or drink at a young age will move toward other drugs or higher alcohol consumption once they enter college. When teens were questioned about their opinions toward binge drinking and risk, nearly 50 percent of teens in the study said they didn’t believe this type of alcohol consumption held “great risk.”

It’s this attitude, says Harris, that’s especially worrisome. Many of the teens in the study believed binge drinking was not a significant event and expressed a desire to experiment with alcohol related to wanting to look popular and be like other teens.

Harris hopes more efforts will encourage teens to consider that binge drinking carries the potential for extremely serious and life-changing consequences, many of which can affect teens well into their adult years.  

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