Kids And High-Intensity Drinking: Teens Getting Wasted, Boys More Than Girls

ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – This goes beyond sneaking a drink from the liquor cabinet.

A University of Michigan study finds that two percent of younger teenagers, ages 14 to 16, have had at least 10 drinks in a row in the last two weeks. If the figures are extrapolated, it would mean as many as 40,000 8th grade students and 113,000 10th graders take part in high-intensity drinking.

Researchers say adolescents who take part could risk their health, possibly their lives if they drink to the point of losing consciousness.

The study is the first to report the prevalence of this type of drinking among young adolescents. About 1.2 percent of eighth graders reported high-intensity drinking while 3.1 percent of 10th-graders reported the same level of drinking, according to U-M researcher Megan Patrick.

“High-intensity drinking is obviously concerning because this type of consumption raises adults’ blood alcohol concentrations to at least four times the legal limit for driving,” Patrick said in a statement. “Adolescents who engage in high-intensity drinking are at great risk for severe and life-threatening consequences of their alcohol use, such as drinking to the point of losing consciousness.”

The study also found that more boys tend to participate in high-intensity drinking than girls — about 2.3 percent compared to 1.7 percent. High-intensity drinking was significantly higher among kids who had ever used marijuana or cigarettes.

For those who used marijuana, 8.1 percent also drank heavily, compared to 0.5 percent who didn’t use marijuana. About 9.8 percent of those who had smoked cigarettes also reported high-intensity drinking, compared to 0.9 percent who had never smoked.

The study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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