TEEN HEALTH Published June16, 2015 By Milafel Hope Dacanay

Teens Drinking Less, but There’s a Caveat

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Saturday Night Revellers Enjoy Themselves In Cardiif City Centre
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Parents, if you're worried that your children and teens may already be drinking or, worse, binge drinking, then this new report will somewhat put a smile on your face.

According to the newest report released by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there's a huge drop of alcohol consumption among teens especially between the ages of 12 and 20 years old. The report is based on the data that have been gathered for 11 years starting in 2002.

The decline is as high as 5 percentage points, starting from almost 30% in 2002 to just a little over 20% in 2012. Binge drinking, on the other hand, also dropped by almost the same percentage difference within the same year range.

Despite the huge decline, there are still many teens who are drinking alcohol. The same report revealed that more than 8 million teens below 21 are already alcohol drinkers and at least 5 million of them binge drink. This means that they are consuming beyond the acceptable limits. Further, there are more underage drinkers than teens who are engaged in either smoking or taking illegal drugs.  

While alcohol drinking is dangerous enough, binge drinking can be a worse problem since it can lead to alcohol poisoning. This is because with this type of drinking, a huge amount of alcohol enters the body at such a very short time.

Some of the classic symptoms include vomiting, nausea, and unconsciousness. In its most severe form, binge drinking and alcohol poisoning can cause irregular or abnormal breathing, slower heart rate, confusion or disorientation, and even seizures. Some patients eventually fall into coma and later die.

Overall, the report suggests that more still need to be done to ensure that alcohol drinking especially among teens is greatly reduced. According to Director Frances Harding of CSAP (Center for Substance Abuse Prevention), teens need support from two crucial people: their parents and their community.  

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