Despite all the headlines about meth, marijuana, synthetic pot and prescription misuse, alcohol remains the most commonly used and abused drug among U.S. youth.
Excessive alcohol consumption, including binge drinking, accounts for thousands of deaths among young Americans each year, the CDC says.
Drinking, including moderate drinking, is a factor in a large percentage of motor vehicle crashes, and the link between drunkenness and violence is universally known. In America today, heavy and binge drinking are associated with adolescent suicide, sexual assault and STDs.
Binge drinking in young adults is a key factor in their developing alcohol abuse and dependency. And it can also impair brain development.
Michael Windle, chair of behavioral sciences and health education at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, and a longtime alcohol abuse researcher, notes that the brain has not fully developed by late adolescence.
Alcohol abuse, including binge drinking, can affect the development of specific brain regions associated with critical functions such as memory and decision-making, Windle says.
Here’s a video, courtesy of Emory, of a GHN interview with Windle about trends in alcohol abuse among youth.