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Teens who binge drink are far more likely to have alcohol and societal problems later in life

The research data is unanimous and clear…kids who start drinking early are at a far greater risk to develop alcohol problems or alcoholism later in life, and they are also more likely to be involved with criminality, less likely to have finished their education and more likely to suffer mental illness.

Parents need to keep their kids safe from the incredible menace that is underage binge drinking, and kids already drinking at unsafe levels deserve immediate intervention and treatment for the best chance of a happy, successful and sober adult life.

Some Facts About Early Drinking and Adulthood problems

  • Teens who binge drink regularly at the age of 16 are 60% more likely to have alcohol abuse problems at the age of 30 than those teens who did not, and 70% more likely to be alcoholics.
  • Young binge drinkers are 60% more likely to be homeless by the time they're 30, and 200% more likely to have a criminal conviction.
  • They are 40% more likely to have a mental illness and 30% more likely to be without school qualifications, and 400% as likely to have been expelled from school.

*Source British journal of medicine

Keeping Kids Safe

With every additional year that parents can keep kids away from experimenting with drugs and alcohol they greatly decrease the probability that their kids will ever need to suffer through alcohol abuse or dependency problems.

Parents need to take the risks of underage binge drinking very seriously. Parents should always speak with their children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and should maintain a running dialogue on the topic over the years. Parents also need to have clear and known policies against the use of alcohol or drugs and be prepared to discipline appropriately should they ever find their kids experimenting. Parents also need to lead through a good example; never use illicit drugs, and use alcohol only in moderation.

If Teens Develop a Problem

The risks of alcohol or drug abuse on the still developing minds and bodies of teens are profound. Teens also suffer physically far more from their use and are far more likely to develop abuse problems and addictions. Hopefully, parents who stay involved and active in the lives of their kids will never be caught unawares by an increasing problem with substance abuse; but kids can be pretty good at hiding behaviors when they're motivated to do so, and parents need to be prepared to take action appropriate to the severity of the situation.

Any problem with abuse or dependency is better dealt with earlier rather than later, and these types of problems very rarely get better on their own. If a teen has developed a problem of abuse or addiction, they need professional intervention and treatment, and the level of treatment needed is best determined by a teenage addictions specialist.

The pain of substance abuse and addiction is never greater than when parents confront such trauma in their own still underage children. The best thing that parents can do at this point is to act quickly, act with resolve, and do everything in their power to better the situation.

There's Always Hope

It's a scary world we send our kids out into everyday, and the temptations of drugs and alcohol abound…and access is easier than ever before. Some parents do everything right, and still suffer the pain of a child's addiction, and some parents, who do nothing preventative, enjoy good fortune and healthy kids.

There are no guarantees, and great kids get in over their heads all the time with a very adult type of problem. Prevention is always the best policy, but if substance abuse or addiction ever emerges, parents need to take very serious action. Very few parents ever regret "overreacting" to the threat of drugs or alcohol, but there are legions of heartbroken parents who acted too late and did too little, and will forever bear the pain of that inaction.

There is always hope, and kids are incredibly resilient and resourceful; and even those who have developed serious substance abuse problems or dependencies respond very well to appropriate treatment and loving family support.

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Page last updated Sep 18, 2011

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