Teen Drunkeness

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Drunkeness Triples College Kids' Auto Injury Risk

It also greatly raises risks for falls, sexual abuse, study finds

Falling from heights, getting into car accidents or becoming sexualized victimized: A new study confirms that college students who get drunk at least once a week put themselves at much higher risk of serious injury or death from events like these than those who shy away from excessive drinking.

"Each year, approximately 1,700 college students die from alcohol-related injuries," said researcher Dr. Mary Claire O'Brien, a professor of emergency medicine and public health sciences at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The finding has a practical side: O'Brien's team believes a simple screening question that asks students how many days they get drunk in a typical week could help pinpoint those at-risk students in need of help.

Asking students how many drinks they consume per day or week may not be as helpful, O'Brien pointed out. "In my experience, patients lie about how much they drink, and screening tests based on quantity don't account for differences in weight, gender, alcohol tolerance, body metabolism, medications and other variables. What it takes to make someone drunk varies from individual to individual."

The results are part of an ongoing, five-year research project to develop effective ways to reduce problem drinking on college campuses.

College students who got drunk at least once a week were three times more likely to be injured or hurt as a result of their own drinking than students who didn't get drunk as often, the researchers found. They were also twice as likely to fall from a height and require medical care, and 75 percent more likely to be sexually victimized.

Students who get intoxicated at least once a week were three times more likely to be in an automobile collision caused by someone else's drinking, the researchers added.

The Wake Forest study involved students from 10 North Carolina universities.

The researchers presented the findings Monday at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine annual meeting, in New York City.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has more about college drinking prevention. (www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov ).

Source: www.healthcentral.com/newsdetail/408/525819.html

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