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7 Things you might not know about underage drinking

underage-drinking

Underage drinking is a serious problem in America.  Here are 7 things you might not know about underage drinking.

 

  1. Alcohol use among youth has serious repercussions. Each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking. This includes about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1,600 as a result of homicides, 300 from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drownings.
  2. A lot of underage drinking goes on. According to data from the 2005 Monitoring the Future study, an annual survey of U.S. youth, three-fourths of 12th graders, more than two-thirds of 10th graders, and about two in every five 8th graders have consumed alcohol. Many youth binge drink, consuming four, five, or more drinks at a time.  Data show that 11 percent of 8th graders, 22 percent of 10th graders, and 29 percent of 12th graders had engaged in binge drinking within the past two weeks. The 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that among high school students, during the past 30 days, 22 percent binge drank and 8 percent drove after drinking.
  3. Underage drinking is linked to risky behavior. Frequent binge drinkers are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, including using other drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, having sex with six or more partners, and earning grades that are mostly Ds and Fs in school .
  4. Underage drinking is linked to alcohol dependence later in life. Research shows that the serious drinking problems typically associated with middle age actually begin to appear much earlier, during young adulthood and even adolescence.  People who reported starting to drink before the age of 15 were four times more likely to also report meeting the criteria for alcohol dependence at some point in their lives.
  5. Drinking before or during puberty can have serious effects on development. Drinking alcohol prior to or during puberty may upset the critical hormonal balance necessary for normal development of organs, muscles, and bones. Studies in animals also show that consuming alcohol during puberty adversely affects the maturation of the reproductive system.
  6. Hereditary factors play a large role in determining whether someone will become an underage drinker. Children of those suffering from alcohol dependence are more likely to begin drinking at a young age and more likely to later suffer from alcohol dependence. In fact, Children of those suffering from alcohol dependence are 6 times more likely to suffer from alcohol dependence themselves.
  7. There is a huge need for treatment for youth suffering from alcohol dependence and this need is largely unmet. 1.4 million youth met the criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence, but only 227,000 actually received any treatment for these problems.

PHOTOS: NCPP Youth Access Survey @ Jefferson High School 11-27-2013

This morning NCPP Staff met with students from “Be The Change” youth coalition at Jefferson High School to co-administer the 2013 JUHSD Youth Access Survey to 13 classrooms, reaching approximately 325 students.  The survey process went extremely well!

Thank you to the Jefferson High students that administered and also took the Youth Access Survey.  Stay tuned in the coming months for our analysis and release of the final survey report!

EDITORIAL: Alcoholism Within The Asian-American Community

Although the rate of alcoholism within the Asian American community is lower than the rate for the general public, it is still a significant problem, with 13.3 percent of Asian Americans classified as binge drinkers, and a 3.6 percent lifetime incidence of alcohol use disorders according to the NIH.  Problems exist for family members of those with alcohol dependence in the Asian American community.  Asian Americans with alcohol use disorders receive treatment at a far lower rate than other ethnic groups, according to the NIH.  There are several possible reasons for this.  Most Asian Americans strongly value family members and ties and don’t want to risk damaging these ties by bringing up topics like alcoholism. There is also a strong emphasis on saving face in most Asian cultures, which makes it hard to confront someone with alcohol addiction, especially if the sufferer is older. That is why it is especially difficult for many within the Asian American community to deal with family members who have substance abuse problems. We’ll look at some problems relatives of alcoholics face, what are some treatment options, and some of the resources available to help relatives of people with alcohol abuse problems.

Often, family members of alcoholics are afraid to confront their loved one.  Family members are afraid they might lose the relationship, as they do not want to be seen as causing trouble within the family, or they don’t see the harm in protecting and rescuing their loved one time and time again even though it allows their loved one to avoid facing the consequences of alcohol dependency.  There are several possible solutions to these problems.   If family members are afraid of losing the relationship with their loved one suffering from alcohol dependence, they can practice compassion while setting boundaries.   This means being able to say “No” and not financially supporting their family member while they suffer from alcohol problems.  Another problem family members face when confronting a loved one suffering from alcohol issues is the fear that they will be singled out and criticized within their family if they confront their loved one about his or her alcohol problem.  This can be counteracted by discussing the problem with other family members, building support for action, and possibly staging an intervention.  A lot of times, family members who rescue their loved one time and time again, which can be problematic as it allows people suffering from alcohol dependence to continue in their path without facing responsibility for their actions.   The solution is for concerned family members to stand  their ground and be prepared to lose the relationship temporarily.  An intervention or other strong action may be necessary., and  professional guidance may be needed. Overall, alcoholism  creates a difficult situation for families who struggle with loving a person but not their disease.

There are many treatment options that may be engaged for someone suffering from alcohol dependence. Treatment may involve a brief intervention, counseling, an outpatient program, or a residential inpatient stay.  Detoxification at an inpatient treatment center combined with treatment with drugs might be necessary.  Sedatives are sometimes necessary to control tremors and shaking and other symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.  Drugs such as naltrexone are often used to remove the pleasurable sensations alcoholics get from drinking.  Family therapy is also sometimes used to help the entire family cope with the problem.

In addition to professional counseling services, there are also several non-profit organizations that help and support family members who have alcoholics in their families.   Al-Anon and Alateen are two good support groups for family members of alcoholics, as is ODASA, an Asian American Recovery Services program.

Here is more information about ODASA.

Some websites with good information about alcoholism are listed below.

http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/dealing-with-the-elephant-in-the-roomalcoholism

http://psychcentral.com/lib/when-family-members-protect-alcoholics/0002847

http://www.hazelden.org/web/public/hff80302.page

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alcoholism/DS00340/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs