People between the ages of 12 and 20 drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States, according the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2013, the same age range accounted for 119,000 emergency room visits for alcohol-related conditions.
Drunkenness isn’t alcohol’s only side effect. Short-term side effects of binge drinking may include injuries, alcohol poisoning, unprotected or unwanted sex, impaired thinking and motor functions and death.
According to the CDC, underage drinking can lead to worse grades, disrupted growth and development, abuse of other drugs and life-long effects such as memory problems.
“I think that we are needing more and more prevention in the community,” said Jessica Blasi, Lafene Health Center’s alcohol and other drug education director. “Just so people are aware of those long-term effects, and I think a lot of that has to do with understanding the population.”
Connor McClain, junior in education, said he feels drinking culture is “shoved down our throats” in every branch of advertising.
“Any movie or show that takes place in high school or college — there’s going to be booze,” McClain said. “When families go to football games, everyone at the game is hammered. Kids see that, and they want to do that because it means they’re grown up and mature too.”
Blasi said there are a variety of resources on campus for students whose health is affected by alcohol consumption. Lafene has doctors on staff that can talk about a student’s alcohol use.
If they believe the student is experiencing more than a dependency of alcohol, such as depression or anxiety, they can refer them to Counseling Services. Blasi offers educational courses on how alcohol and drug use affects the body and brain.
To set up an appointment at Lafene you can go to their website or call 785-532-6544.