Binge drinking can have a long-lasting impact on a teenager.
Executive Director of Muskingum Behavioral Health Steve Carrel said about two-thirds of high school students engage in underage drinking, and about one-fourth of those kids report binge drinking. He said new brain research indicates that this behavior might be even more dangerous than originally thought.
"Through the teen years, you not only have brain growth, but you have all these hormonal changes going on, because your body is still developing, and then we introduce a chemical that changes that brain operation, and actually in the case of developing addiction, it changes the brain's structure," said Carrel.
Carrel said other factors, especially genetics, are responsible for alcoholism. He said education can provide awareness, but parents play an enormous role in their child's behavior.
"As I'm growing up, if I see that the adult figures in my life deal with the world by drinking, then once I start drinking, the behavior modeled to me is that if I have problems or stress, it can contribute to at least alcohol abuse if not addiction to alcohol," said Carrel.
Carrel advises parents to make rules and enforce the consequences when it comes to drinking.