Binge drinking shoots up among California teens
December 15, 2009
The San Jose Mercury News is reporting a disturbing trend: After dropping for decades, binge drinking among California teens is suddenly increasing at an alarming rate.
Hard liquor has replaced beer as the alcohol that teens reach for, and vodka is the drink of choice, several experts said. By consuming some of the many sweet drinks with vodka aimed at the youth market, or mixing vodka with cola or orange juice, young drinkers can consume large amounts without tasting the alcohol.
The number of California teens engaging in binge drinking has edged up since 2001, especially among middle and high school students. Roughly 3 percent of seventh-graders in the 2001-02 school year reported having had at least one episode of binge drinking in the past 30 days.
More than 6 percent had tried it in the past 30 days in the 2007-08 school year, according to the California Student Survey. For 11th-graders, about 26 percent had tried binge drinking at least once in the past 30 days in 2001-02; that increased to 29 percent for 11th-graders in the 2007-08 school year.
Deaths from alcohol poisoning or abuse also increased among young people age 13 to 20. There were 10 deaths in the state in 2003, 14 deaths in 2007.