Tweens, Teens and Young Adults Benefit from Alcohol Drug Awareness
Copyright Tom Wilson Counseling Center
Educating your tweens and teens on the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse won’t solve all your problems as a parent but it may help your kids better understand the consequences of their decisions if it comes from another source, such as an online alcohol drug awareness class.
Binge drinking seems to be at surprisingly high levels these days and is the most common pattern among underage drinkers. Binge drinking among teens and young adults is defined as 5 or more drinks on the same occasion at least once in the past 30 days. Health, social and academic problems occur when young men drink 5 or more drinks per occasion and young women drink 4 or more drinks per occasion. Those numbers are even more shocking when you consider college aged young adults from 18 to 25 where the rate of binge drinking in 2010 was almost 41% according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Huse and Health. Those rates have been consistent for the past several years.
Other statistics on rates of binge alcohol use in 2010:
1.0 percent among 12 or 13 year olds
6.7 percent among 14 or 15 year olds
15.3 percent among 16 or 17 year olds
33.3 percent among persons aged 18 to 20
and peaked among those aged 21 to 25 at 45.5 percent.
Binge drinking rates for 12 or 13 year olds and for 16 or 17 year olds were lower in 2010 (1.0 and 15.3 percent, respectively) than they were in 2009 (1.6 and 17.0 percent, respectively). Lower rates may be attributed to the availability of Alcohol and Drug Awareness Education Programs in schools, online and by parents smart enough to enroll their kids in programs early, such as a Minor in Possession class.
How Widespread is Underage Drinking?
Alcohol is the drug of choice among youth. Many young people are experiencing the consequences of drinking too much, at too early an age. As a result, underage drinking is a leading public health problem in this country. Each year, approximately:
5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking
1,900 deaths are from motor vehicle crashes
1,600 deaths are from homicides
300 from suicide
Hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drownings.
Underage Drinking and the Affects on Health
People who started drinking before age 15 were 4 times more likely to meet the definition for alcohol dependence at some point in their lives.
New research shows that serious drinking problems (including what is called alcoholism) typically associated with middle age actually begin to appear much earlier, during young adulthood and even adolescence.
Frequent binge drinkers (nearly 1 million high school students nationwide) are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, including using other drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, having sex with six or more partners, and earning grades that are mostly Ds and Fs in school.
Whatever it is that leads adolescents to begin drinking, once they start they face a number of potential health risks. Although the severe health problems associated with harmful alcohol use are not as common in adolescents as they are in adults, studies show that young people who drink heavily may put themselves at risk for a range of potential health problems.
Brain Effects—Scientists currently are examining just how alcohol affects the developing brain, but it’s a difficult task. Subtle changes in the brain may be difficult to detect but still have a significant impact on long-term thinking and memory skills. Add to this the fact that adolescent brains are still maturing, and the study of alcohol’s effects becomes even more complex. Research has shown that animals fed alcohol during this critical developmental stage continue to show long-lasting impairment from alcohol as they age. Alcohol will affect the long-term memory and learning skills of people who began drinking heavily as adolescents.
Liver Effects—Elevated liver enzymes, indicating some degree of liver damage, have been found in some adolescents who drink alcohol. Young drinkers who are overweight or obese showed elevated liver enzymes even with only moderate levels of drinking.
Growth and Endocrine Effects—In both males and females, puberty is a period associated with marked hormonal changes, including increases in the sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone. These hormones, in turn, increase production of other hormones and growth factors, which are vital for normal organ development. Drinking alcohol during this period of rapid growth and development (i.e., prior to or during puberty) may upset the critical hormonal balance necessary for normal development of organs, muscles, and bones. Studies in animals also show that consuming alcohol during puberty adversely affects the maturation of the reproductive system.
Tom Wilson Counseling Center has been offering online DUI, alcohol, drug, anger, relapse and other classes as a distance learning education solution since 2004. Tom is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and a Certified Prevention Specialist.
The Center offers 4 Hour Online Minor in Possession Class for $75.00 and 8, 12, 16, 20, 24 Hour Online Alcohol Drug Classes. The most comprehensive Drug Awareness class is our new Online Drug Awareness and Diversion Class that includes a wealth of information about well known drugs and the latest ‘designer’ drugs, including marijuana, synthetic marijuana or spice, salvia, inhalants, bath salts, prescriptions drugs, methamphetamine, steroids, ketamine, and over-the-counter drugs.