Alcohol is a drug. And every day, more than 4,750 American kids aged 15 and younger take their first full drink of this drug. That’s according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA. And the problem is not just that this consumption is illegal. Kids who start drinking before age 15 also are five times more likely to become alcoholics or abuse alcohol than are people who wait until adulthood for their first sip. Another big problem for kids who experiment with this drug is that they are more likely than adults are to consume too much alcohol over a short period of time. This is known asbinge drinking.
What few people realize is that binge drinking poses many risks that go well beyond getting drunk and acting irresponsibly. That’s why an organization of doctors has just issued a new report laying out those risks. It appeared in the August 30 issue of Pediatrics.
Lorena Siqueira is a pediatrician at Florida International University and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami. She studies teen alcohol