With all the talk about prescription opioid and heroin addiction devastating communities across the country, it is important that we do not lose sight of the other substances which have the power to negatively affect one’s life. We’ve written before how alcohol continues to be, and will probably always be, the most commonly used drug here in the United States and around the world. In America, alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death, and every year approximately 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
Educating young adults about the dangers that can accompany alcohol use, especially regarding the dangerous practice of “binge drinking,” can save lives. Four out of five college students report drinking alcohol and half of those who drink - binge drink. The NIAAA considers binge drinking as having 5 alcoholic beverages for men and 4 for women within a two hour period. The dangerous practice is associated with a number of serious health problems, including:
It is probably fair to say that many young adults who binge drink, developed an unhealthy relationship with alcohol in high school. While heavy drinking is more commonly associated with college life, it occurs among high school age teens as well. Left unchecked it can result in an alcohol use disorder developing, an addiction that can dramatically affect the course of one’s life. It is ever vital that we have effective prevention and intervention efforts, and that health experts do everything in their power to provide teenagers and young adults with scientifically current information about the dangers of alcohol use.
Naturally, parents can play a huge role in preventing their teens and young adult children from forming unhealthy relationships with alcohol. It cannot be overly stressed how paramount it is that parents talk with their children about alcohol, which is why the theme of this year’s Alcohol Awareness Month is: “Talk Early, Talk Often: Parents Can Make a Difference in Teen Alcohol Use.” Every year in April, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) sponsors Alcohol Awareness month, with the aim of raising “public awareness and understanding, reduce stigma and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues.”
The leading advocacy organization in the world addressing alcoholism and drug dependence cites research that found that adolescents who have regular discourse with their parents about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50% less likely to use. Young people who drink alcohol are at great risk of:
“Alcohol and drug use is a very risky business for young people,” says Andrew Pucher, President and Chief Executive Officer of NCADD, “and parents can make a difference. The longer children delay drinking and drug use, the less likely they are to develop any problems associated with it. That’s why it is so important to help your child make smart decisions about alcohol and drugs.”
Nevertheless, there are many young adults who are already struggling with an alcohol use disorder and it is vital that they receive help sooner, rather than later. If you or a loved one’s alcohol use has become problematic, please contact PACE Recovery Center. We specialize in treating young adults with chemical dependency and behavioral health issues.