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High school students still engage in extreme binge drinking

They like to say everything is big in Texas, but when it comes to binge drinking, it's not just Texas that has a problem. Researchers asked high school seniors and found that 1 in 5 admitted to drinking five or more drinks in a row in a two-week period. This is considered the base line for binge drinking, but some high school students take it further, consuming 10 drinks at a time, an a frightening 5.6 percent say that they have 15 or more drinks at one sitting.

This level of alcohol consumption will result in a blood alcohol content many times the legal limit for driving, were these students able to drink legally. At this level of intoxication, no one is safe driving a motor vehicle and if they do, there is a great risk of drunk driving accidents. One of the authors of the research noted that this study helps to explain why there is a significant rate of emergency room use due to underage alcohol consumption.

While the majority of binge drinkers were white male students, at the 15-drink level, all ethnic groups were equally represented. Students with more educated parents had a greater likelihood of engaging in lower level binge drinking, but they tended to refrain from extreme amounts.

While the overall levels of teen drinking have declined since the 1970s, the extreme binge group has remained flat. The study was based on data collected from 2005 to 2011 and had more than 16,000 participants.

The researchers indicated they need to learn more about extreme binge drinking to determine how to deter students from engaging in this dangerous activity. 

Source: Texas Public Radio, "15-Plus Drinks A Night: Teenagers Binge At Dangerous Heights," Nancy Shute, September 17, 2013

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