Answers from YouthZone
As I remember back to homecoming at Glenwood Springs High School, what comes to mind is the sight of red-and-white uniforms, the smell of a bonfire, the sound of the band playing “send Glenwood down the field …,” excitement about wearing the dress my dad helped me pick out for the dance, and, yes … recollections of kids who chose to binge drink that Saturday night.On Oct. 8 and 9, homecoming is upon us and it is important that students and parents know the facts about binge drinking. Alcohol sales to minors total $1 billion per year, and if you think youth in our valley are immune to that statistic, you need to pull your head out of the sand! Binge drinking, often beginning around age 13, tends to increase during adolescence, peak in young adulthood, and then gradually decrease. Among persons under the legal drinking age 15 percent were binge drinkers, and 7 percent were heavy drinkers. White non-Hispanic youth ages 12-17 reported the highest frequency of binge drinking (9 percent) as compared with (6 percent) of Hispanic youth.Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks in a row for boys and four or more in a row or for girls. What happens to the body is that the liver can only process one ounce of alcohol per hour. Alcohol is a depressant; consequently it depresses the function of all organs and deprives the brain of oxygen. Death by binge drinking happens when the individual’s body goes into an alcohol-induced coma. The lack of oxygen eventually causes the brain to shut down the voluntary functions that regulate breathing and heart rate. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning to look for are:– Vomiting– Unconsciousness– Cold, clammy, pale, or bluish skin– Slow or irregular breathingIf you suspect alcohol poisoning what should you do?– Call 911 immediately. — Turn the person on his or her side to prevent choking in case of vomiting. It is proven through research that coffee and cold showers do nothing to help sober a person up. — Do not leave the person alone. — If the person stops breathing administer CPR. What can I do as a parent? — Ideally you should begin talking about the dangers of alcohol at a young age. Don’t give a one-time speech; find frequent opportunities to talk to your kids about alcohol.– Encourage a safe, nonthreatening, nonjudgmental conversation so that your child will express concerns openly. — Discuss facts of binge drinking and have them brainstorm consequences to their health, death by falling or a car wreck, the legal consequences, consequences of rape, and suspension from sports and school. Have them come up with the possible feelings that might give them if those things were to happen to themselves and their family. — Explain why you should never drink and drive, or get into a car with a person even if the driver has had only a sip.– Be a model by not binge drinking on special occasions; binge drinking suggests that the only way you have fun is by drinking excessively. — Teach your teenager how to recognize alcohol abuse and deal with emergency drinking situations. — Most importantly, encourage your child to participate in nonalcohol activities. Kerri Cheney is senior counselor at YouthZone. Drug and alcohol education classes for young people begin from 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24. If you would like information on this class or any other family-related services at YouthZone please call our main office at 945-9300.Kerri Cheney is senior counselor at YouthZone. Drug and alcohol education classes for young people begin from 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24. If you would like information on this class or any other family-related services at YouthZone please call our main office at 945-9300.
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