binge drinkingParents of tweens, teens, and young adults: you’ll be happy to know that binge drinking is on the decline. However with an estimated 4300 underage drinkers that die each year from excessive drinking, we still need to educate our kids about this serious public health issue. Over the years, we’ve hammered the famous phrases “Don’t Drink and Drive” and “Say No to Drugs” into our kids’ brains, but what about “Binge Drinking is So Not Cool?”

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that regularly brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to .08 or above. That’s about 4 drinks for women or 5 drinks for men over a 2 hour span. Binge drinking is most common among younger adults aged 18–34 years. One of the latest deaths from binge drinking involved a Penn State fraternity pledge, Timothy Piazza, who suffered grievous injuries after consuming toxic levels of alcohol while being hazed. But take note, it’s not just college students that give in to binge drinking. One in six high schoolers binge drink, according to the Centers of Disease Control.

Peer pressure is just one of the many reasons people choose to binge drink. Others drink excessively to rebel, escape their problems, or simply to have fun and let loose. So, parents, if you’re planning the next “Make Good Choices” heart-to-heart with your kids, be sure to include safe limits for drinking and the risks of binge drinking. Also, let them know it’s okay to call 911 or take a friend to the emergency room if they are showing signs of of alcohol poisoning or have injured themselves.

Although death is by far the worse thing that can happen, there are many other short-term and long-term side effects from excessive drinking that your child needs to know about. Hopefully, when it comes time for them to make a decision when you’re not around, they’ll hear your voice echoing in the back of their minds,“There’s nothing cool about binge drinking.”

Short-Term Problems of Binge Drinking

  • Lack of coordination and sound judgement
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Memory loss
  • Poor decision making
  • Shakiness
  • Passing out
  • Hangover the following morning

Long-Term Side Effects of Binge Drinking

  • Brain damage
  • Liver disease
  • Stroke
  • Heart problems
  • Cancer
  • Infertility

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