Entries in Underage Drinking (5)


Nearly One-Third of Underage Drinking Deaths Are Traffic-Related

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Nearly two-thirds of deaths due to underage drinking are not related to drunk driving, according to data analysis  released by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

One of MADD's initiatives urges parents to talk to their children about alcohol, selecting April 21 as PowerTalk 21 day. In advance of this year's PowerTalk 21 day, MADD is releasing new analysis that shows just under one-third of underage drinking deaths are caused by drunk driving.

MADD estimates that 32 percent of all underage drinking deaths were caused by traffic accidents. According to the analysis, the remaining 68 percent included homicides, suicides and alcohol poisonings.

However, traffic fatalities still make up a higher percentage of underage drinking deaths than any other cause. Homicides accounted for 30 percent of the deaths in the study, suicides accounted for 14 percent, and alcohol poisonings made up 9 percent. The remaining 15 percent fell under the category of "other causes of death."

MADD advises parents to discuss alcohol consumption with their children, calling the conversation "sometimes difficult, but potentially lifesaving."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Colorado Teens to Drink with Parental Supervision?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- The state of Colorado will shift its focus away from recently legalized marijuana and toward underage drinking…with supervision, that is. Republican Senator Greg Brophy from Wray, Colo., hopes to propose a new law that would allow 18-year-olds to drink alcohol at bars and restaurants with parental supervision.

Brophy told ABC News that the bill is almost finalized and is in drafting but it should be presented in the next few days.

Brophy told ABC News that he thought that 18-year-olds should have this right because alcohol is a legal substance that they would be consuming legally in a mere three years anyway. "It would be a good idea for young adults to learn about responsible use of this product with responsible adults."

When asked why 18 was the chosen age, Brophy said, "As a society we have arbitrarily chosen that age to convey upon people most of the rights and responsibilities of adulthood." He continues, "At 18 people are old enough to enter into binding contracts, they are old enough to vote, and to serve our country. Age 18 is the number that society has chosen, so I figured we would start there."

As of now, Colorado's drinking laws are fairly lenient. The Centennial State allows its under-agers to consume alcohol on private, non-alcohol-selling premises, with parental supervision, for educational purposes (such as culinary students), and for medical or religious purposes.

"Why is it appropriate for the state to deny responsible parents the opportunity to show their own adult children how to safely and responsibly consume adult beverages in public?" Brophy asked.

Under Brophy's proposal, parents would need to provide their ID as well as identification for their child. However, the server would ultimately have the say on whether alcohol would be served to the underage person.

Pete Meersman, CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association, says that he is opposed to the legislation: "It puts all the burden of making the decisions of who can and can't be served onto our servers and our operators."

Meersman continues, "We can have our license suspended or revoked if there is an issue with serving someone under 21 years of age."

The concern of the Colorado Restaurant Association is that they have no real way of discerning between a parental relationship. Meersman mentions the situations of young married couples where one partner is 21 and the other is not and he discusses complications dealing with civil unions and couples/families who do not share the same last name.

"We have no way of telling who is legitimate and who is not," Meersman says.

"If the bill passes, which we are opposed to, we will advise our members to not serve anyone who is under 21." Meersman continues, "We are not going to take any chances on losing our license and the liabilities will ultimately rest on the servers and on the restaurants."

If the legislation passes, Colorado would not be alone in their quest for consented alcohol consumption for young adults. Eleven states -- Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming-- allow the consumption of alcohol for 18-year-olds on alcohol-selling premises such as restaurants and bars with parental approval.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Teens Hear 34 Liquor Brands a Day in Rap, Hip-Hop Music

James Woodson/Valueline/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH) -- For every hour that American teens listen to music, they hear more than three references to brand-name alcohol -- about 34 in the course of day.

This heavy exposure could contribute to youth addiction, according to a University of Pittsburgh and Dartmouth University study published online Thursday in the international journal, Addiction.

Researchers point the finger clearly at rap, R&B and hip-hop artists, who they say promote a "luxury lifestyle characterized by degrading sexual activity, wealth, partying, violence and the use of drugs."

Although the alcohol trade industries publicly say they do not market to underage drinkers, researchers said the line is "difficult to distinguish" because liquor companies "retroactively reward" the recording artists with product sponsorships and endorsements when songs climb the charts.

This music is so popular among high school students that the study concludes the relationship between the two industries could encourage young people to begin alcohol use early and to continue drink throughout their teenage years.

Many of the brands that are cited in lyrics -- Patron Tequila, Grey Goose Vodka and Hennessey Cognac -- are those named as favorites by underage drinkers, especially girls, according to the study, authored by Brian A. Primack, Erin Nuzzo and Kristin R. Rice of University of Pittsburgh Medical School and James D. Sargent of Dartmouth University School of Medicine.

Most of the alcohol references in those songs were positive rather than negative ones, they said.  The brand names were associated with wealth 63.4 percent of the time; sex, 58.5 percent; luxury objects, 51.2 percent; partying, 48.8 percent; other drugs, 43.9 percent and vehicles, 39 percent, according to the study.

"Much of the alcohol advertising is "unsolicited," said Frank Coleman, spokesman for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS).  "As part of the entertainment industry, we encourage artistic freedom and we encourage all great artists, if they use alcohol as their muse, to do so responsibly.  That's a given."

He also cited 2010 government statistics in a University of Michigan study, Monitoring the Future, that showed underage drinking and binge drinking were at "an all-time low" -- even, according to Coleman, as the popularity of rap music soared.

But the study cited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data that alcohol use is the "leading root cause" of mortality in adolescence, and its use is associated with substance abuse, risky sexual behavior, academic failure and alcohol dependence.

According to the CDC, 42 percent of high schools students drank some amount of alcohol and 24 percent binge drank in 2009.

The study analyzed 793 of the most popular youth songs between 2005 and 2007, according to Billboard magazine.  They found that 25 percent of those that mentioned alcohol called out a brand name, representing about 3.4 alcohol brand call-outs per song hour.  The average teen listens to about 2.5 hours of music per day, according to the research.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Teen Dies of Possible Alcohol Poisoning at Her Own Sleepover

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SANTA ROSA, Calif.) -- A slumber party turned tragic when the parents of 14-year-old Takeimi Rao found their daughter dead after drinking soda mixed with vodka with three friends on Saturday night.

Officials said that Rao's mother, Aleae Pennette, took the girls out for dinner on Saturday.  At 2 a.m., Pennette woke up to find three of the girls throwing up, but she helped clean them up and put them back to bed.

Rao had not thrown up, cops said.

"She thought they had eaten something bad and were sick from the food," said Lt. Dennis O'Leary of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department.

But in the morning, Rao of Santa Rosa, California was found passed out on her bedroom floor.  Paramedics came to the house and pronounced her dead at the scene.

A cause of death has not been confirmed, but police believe she likely died from alcohol poisoning.

Rao's mother could not be reached for comment.

"Her parents are stellar people," said O'Leary.  "They're devastated."

O'Leary said the family had been renting the house, and the vodka was in the owner's cabinet.  They didn't want to throw it out, but it had likely been sitting in the kitchen for years, he said.

"This is a tragic lesson that we all need to learn from," said Susan Foster, vice president and director of policy research and analysis at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse.  "We as a society think about alcohol and other drug use just as behavioral issues -- kids acting out or taking risks -- and we don't think of it as a health problem.  But from a science point of view, it is."

Research has shown that drinking alcohol during the teen years has a greater effect on the brain than drinking alcohol as an adult.

"The alcohol hijacks the rewards system effect, increasing probability that the teens will take more risks," said Foster.  "It interferes with normal brain development and heightens the risk of addiction."

Just last month, Foster authored a report that found that nine out of 10 American addicts begin smoking, drinking or using drugs before the age of 18.

Research has also shown that teen drinking, even in moderate amounts, can elevate liver enzymes, which can lead to liver disease.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Year’s Worst Holiday for Underage Drinking-Related ER Visits

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(ROCKVILLE, Md.) – Visits to the emergency room due to underage drinking nearly quadruple on New Year’s Eve according to a new report.

The report out Thursday by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) said that New Year’s-related drinking sent 1,980 underage individuals to the ER in 2009.

The figure is four times greater than the average daily number of people under 21 who make alcohol-related ER visits.

It also beats out other notorious partying holidays such as Fourth of July and Memorial Day weekend.
Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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