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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring Break and Girls Get Drunk Faster than Boys - Here's the Science

Spring break is here and we all know that means a lot of temptation to drink alcohol, and drink heavily.  We've said this before but we're repeating it. Girls get drunk faster than boys for physiological reasons. Talk to your girls before they head off to spring break or pre-graduation/prom.

Here's the science of why girls can't drink as much as boys:

·         Girls have less water in their bodies than boys. Girls have a slightly higher proportion of fat to lean muscle tissue, concentrating alcohol more easily in their lower percentage of body water. This means they become intoxicated faster after drinking less alcohol.

·         Girls have fewer enzymes to break alcohol down. Alcohol dehydrogenases are a group of seven enzymes that help break down alcohol so the body processes it. Girls have fewer of them, so it is not as easy for their bodies to metabolize the alcohol they drink.

·         Girls are smaller and often weigh less than boys. When drinking the same amount as a boy, a girl will experience a quicker rise in her blood alcohol level, and she may stay intoxicated for a longer period of time. Girls who drink heavily can be at greater risk for alcohol poisoning because it takes less alcohol for them to get really sick.

·         Girls often prefer sweeter, carbonated mixed drinks. Such drinks can speed up the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.

Friday, April 8, 2011

National Study Shows Teens Drinking More and Think It's Not Risky

The Partnership at Drugfree.org and Metropolitan Life's new study of teens and alcohol use found some pretty alarming things for parents. The Worst: Teens view drinking alcohol – even heavy drinking – as less

 risky than using other substances. Here's some data that should get you talking to your kids:

  • 73 percent of teens, report having friends who drink alcohol at least once a week.
  • 60 percent of teens reported using alcohol is that they think “it’s fun to drink.” Many also reported using alcohol to deal with stress.Wake up - it's about family, school and friend stress.
  • 32 percent of teens said they drank “to forget their troubles.”
  • 24 percent said they used alcohol to help them “deal with problems at home.”

When do kids start drinking?

Of those teens who reported alcohol use, a 62 percent said they had their first full alcoholic drink by age 15, not including sipping or tasting alcohol.

25 percent of teens who drank, said they drank a full alcoholic drink for the first time by age 12 or younger.

The average age of first alcohol use was 14.

Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org said,  “We are troubled, but not completely surprised, by these numbers because, in schools and communities across the country, support for drug education and prevention programs has been cut drastically due to budgetary pressures.”

For more information go to: http://www.drugfree.org/newsroom/national-study-confirms-teen-drug-use-trending-in-wrong-direction-marijuana-ecstasy-use-up-since-2008-parents-feel-ill-equipped-to-respond

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Mom's Take on Co-Ed Sleepovers After the Prom

One of the scariest things for parents is realizing you really don’t have that much control over what happens on prom night.  You put your teen in a limo with a driver you don’t know whose sole responsibility is to drive from destination A to destination B — not to monitor drinking or anything else.  The prom itself will have chaperones, but if kids want to sneak out they will find a way.

As I reflect on my prom night, I know I wouldn’t want my children to try anything that I did.  I actually didn’t go to my prom because my friends and I didn’t consider it to be the “cool” thing to do - so instead we met up with everyone at the after prom party.  I remember it being a very boozy night — going to bars (the drinking age was 18, but I wasn’t at the time), skinny dipping in the bay and not coming home until after sunrise. We were all drinking and driving, because it was during pre-MADD days.

In lieu of letting prom be an open-ended night for my son, I might host an after prom sleep-over at my house.  In my opinion, the advantage of parents hosting a sleepover is we have some control over what happens on prom night. You can have the teens safely back at your house, send the limo driver home, give them the basement, let them stay up as late as they want — which is part of the fun of prom night– and keep track of who your teen is with and what they are doing. If the kids are determined to have sex or get drunk or do drugs, I’m sure they could a find a way.  But the point is, they might be less likely to try risky behavior at home with adults right upstairs.

Continue reading on the Decoder blog at the Partnership for Drugfree.org