CPR Online

Don’t Drink Your Life Away

By Lianne Palazzolo, Public Relations Assistant

44% of college students partake in binge drinking.

About 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.

The proportion of current drinkers that binge is highest in the 18 to 20 year-old group (51%).

Approximately 1700 college students die each year from binge drinking related deaths.

Alcohol is the third leading cause of death between people ages 15-24.

Scary, isn’t it? It is unfortunate that adolescents, and even adults, destroy their bodies, lives, or accidentally take someone else’s life just because of the dire need to get intoxicated. Binge drinking is the term used to describe the behavior of those who drink five or more drinks consecutively just to feel a buzz. The binge drinking epidemic among students has been one of the principal concerns for Universities across the country. Students have become more interested in alcohol and getting “wasted,” rather than their education that is costing a fortune for them to receive. It goes without saying that students who are avid binge drinkers are more likely to have low GPA’s and frequent absences from classes. However, although a student’s education is always one of the top priorities; their declining health takes precedent over school. It is inaccurate to say that binge drinkers are unaware about the horrifying effects of alcohol on the mind and body because they are educated about it beginning from elementary school. Many of them even know of someone that has died from an alcohol related cause, such as a drunk-driving accident. Adolescents and young adults have a predisposition of feeling invincible as if nothing can happen to them, which is how a lot of alcohol related accidents occur.

Another tragic side effect of alcohol is the impairment of brain development. After many studies, it has been determined that the young adult or adolescent’s brain is not the same as an adult. In fact, between the ages of 18 and 20 years-old is a crucial part of brain development. The development and mastering of emotion-control, judgment, self-control, and organization occurs between puberty and adulthood. The adolescent brain is more vulnerable to the affects of alcohol, especially when it comes to learning and memory.

Alcohol has numerous short and long-term side effects on various areas of the human body. Short-term effects include, but are not limited to:
• Reduced coordination
• Slower brain activity
• Sensations and perceptions that are less clear
• Poor concentration
• Slow reaction time
• Slow Reflexes
• Vomiting
• Breathing difficulties
• Passing out
• Alcohol Poisoning
• Coma
• Possible death

Long term effects of alcohol include, but are not limited to:
• Disrupted normal brain development
• Liver damage and cirrhosis of the liver
• Brain cells die, decreasing brain mass
• Stomach and intestinal ulcers and destroyed organs
• Blood pressure increases, causing heart disease, heart attack, or stroke
• Male sperm production decreases
• Lower levels of iron and vitamin B, causing anemia
• Alcoholism
• Death
• Fetal alcohol syndrome in unborn children

1. “Underage Binge Drinking Can Create Lasting Brain Changes.” Science Daily: News & Articles in Science, Health, Environment & Technology. Web. 23 June 2011. .
2. Naimi TS, Brewer RD, Mokdad A, Clark D, Serdula MK, Marks JS. Binge drinking among US adults . JAMA 2003;289(1):70–75.
3. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Drinking in America: Myths, Realities, and Prevention Policy. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2005. Available at http://www.udetc.org/documents/Drinking_in_America.pdf [PDF-1.08MB] . Accessed March 28, 2008.
4. “Talk Rehab.” Binge Drinking Statistics. Web. 23 June 2011. .
“Short and Long Term Effects of Alcohol.” Web. 23 June 2011..

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