Death and Hospitalisation
Binge drinking among young people has a devastating effect on the lives of many young people and their families. Alcohol accounts for 13 per cent of all deaths among 14–17-year-old Australians — it has been estimated that one Australian teenager dies and more than 60 are hospitalised each week from alcohol-related causes (NHMRC, 2003). There were almost 3,000 hospital discharges among young people aged 15-24 years due to acute intoxication with alcohol in 2005-06 nationally. For young men, the hospital discharge rate for acute alcohol intoxication increased from 66 to 107 per 100,000 from 1998-99 to 2005-06. For young women, the rate doubled over this time from 46 to 99 discharges per 100,000. In 2005-06, male and female teenagers aged 15-19 years had the highest hospital discharge rates for acute intoxication from alcohol among all age groups (124 and 126 per 100,000)(ABS, 2008).
The numbers have grown ever since and this clearly shows that underage drinking is a problem that is prevailing today in Australia and elsewhere in the world.
The number of 12 to 15-year-old secondary school students who drink at risky levels doubled between 1984 and 2005. Young people are more likely to drink a lot of alcohol in a short space of time. As a result they are more likely to suffer from the dangers of alcohol abuse. Among 16–24 year olds, alcohol-related harm is one of the leading causes of disease and injury. Underage drinking causes injury include driving under the influence of alcohol, accidental injuries, violent behaviour and risky sexual behaviour. There are also risks involved with aggression, reduced inhibition, poor judgement and regret or embarrassment about their actions the next day.
Research shows that underage drinking can cause young people’s brains can be seriously damaged from alcohol. Binge drinking is dangerous for the brain because of the heavy exposure to alcohol whilst drinking and the damage caused by the hangover. Adolescents appear to be more sensitive to the learning and memory problems that can be caused by alcohol. The parts of the brain that are affected by alcohol are also involved in memory and emotions, and damage could result in; memory problems, inability to learn, problems with verbal skills and depression.The learning difficulties caused by teenage drinking could result in poorer performance at school and an increased risk of social problems, depression, suicidal thoughts and violence. Heavy drinking during adolescence might permanently alter brain development.Even if a teenager stops drinking as an adult it might be too late to reverse the damage that might already have been done. The changes that occur to the brain during the teenage years make teenagers more vulnerable to the addictive actions of drugs (such as alcohol).For these reasons, the research suggests that adolescents should not drink alcohol.
Knowing these horrible effects should open the eyes of parents on the dangers of exposing children to alcohol. Do not allow your child to be one of the numbers falling on each effect. Do not encourage underage drinking.