Each year in the United States, roughly 5,000 young people die as a result of underage drinking. In the final part of her series "Risky Teen Behaviors" WHIZ’s Katie Jeffries explores alcohol abuse among teens.
You Tube is filled with videos showing teens drinking, chugging and consuming unheard of amount of alcohol. While teenage partying is nothing new, their generation is drinking harder and faster than ever before.
"Most of the kids getting involved are getting involved big time, using larger quantities with especially alcohol. It is not sitting down with your buds talking and having a couple beers, it’s lets see how drunk we can get and how quickly we can get there and if we pass out or puke even better," says Steve Carrel, Executive Director of Muskingum Behavioral Health.
Carrel says due to their brain development teens often lack solid judgement and run on emotion and adrenaline. But when the drinking goes to far EMTs like Phil Koster are called to the scene.
"They think they are doing fine and it is no big deal and they will keep on drinking, keep on drinking and by the time it becomes fully absorbed they have so much alcohol in their system it is incredibly dangerous and they risk having seizures, becoming unconscious or worse," tells Koster, the Director of Community Ambulance.
Koster says when Community Ambulance responds to teenage alcohol poisoning it is typically at back-door parties, that parents didn’t even know about.
"We are finding the majority of the time the parents are unaware and we do find that parents are shocked when they realize their kids are the ones involved this time," tells Koster.
It is hard for parents to admit their son or daughter might have a drinking problem, but there are warning signs such as a drop in grades or sudden change in friends.
"Does your son or daughter come in smelling of alcohol? Some parents say you know it is just a phase, well if it happens once maybe, twice you are starting to push me, happens more than that I say you might want to have a serious sit down with your child," says Carrel.
Carrel says parents need to trust their gut instinct if they feel something is wrong and there is no shame in seeking help.
If you feel your son or daughter needs help call Muskingum Behavioral Health at (740) 454-1266