School is out, summer is here and every parent hopes their child is not drinking and driving. However, the reality is that many will die this summer in alcohol related accidents. Research has proven that the teenage brain is not developed–especially the portion of the brain that makes safe decisions. A European study reveals how many teens binge and a British study tells which factors produce risky behavior. Student substance abuse is a serious problem not only in Europe but in the United States, as well.
A European Union survey reveals binge drinking as a problem among teens. Europe is one of the heaviest drinking regions in the world. The survey results show the percentage of teens that binge in the following countries:
- Ireland, 34%
- Finland, 27%
- Britain, 24%
- Denmark, 23%
- Italy, 2%
- Greece, 2%
[The Associated Press, msnbc.msn.com, March 15]
What Is Bingeing?
Drinking five or more drinks at one sitting is considered bingeing for this survey. The people questioned in the survey were between the ages of 15 and 24.
Mark A. Bellis, of Liverpool John Moores University, lead the study with over 10,000 teens, ages 15-16. 88 percent of the teens had tried alcohol at some point in their lives. However, the teens that had more risky behavior were the ones with more money.
Just how risky were the behaviors? One-third of the teens stated that they
- bought their own alcohol
- were six times more likely to drink in a public place
- three times more likely to drink often
- twice as likely to binge
The teens behavior was less risky if parents allowed them to drink in the home. If parents served wine with a meal and teens were told how to drink responsibly, the behaviors were less dangerous. These teens seemed to have fewer problems with alcohol. Teens coming from homes that had no alcohol and were not taught how to drink responsibly had more issues with alcohol. [Reuters, msnbc.msn.com]
The study authored by Bellis tells us that teens with $20 or more per week are more likely to drink than those given allowances in lesser amounts. Not only are they more likely to drink, but they are more likely to participate in risky behaviors. The study recommends that
- parents teach children how to drink responsibly
- parents advise teens how to spend their money
- alcohol sales should be monitored more closely
- establishments selling alcohol to minors should be prosecuted.
The survey is found in the online journal, Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy.