What is binge drinking? “Binge drinking” generally refers to drinking five or more standard alcoholic drinks for men and four or more drinks for women, in a span of about two hours. According to the 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, Colorado youth were more likely to report binge drinking (past 30 days) than their peers nationwide.
However, binge drinking, especially for youth, is drinking a lot of alcohol quickly. If you take into account youth development, including physical size and brain development, binge drinking for youth is actually considered:
- Ages 9–13: About 3 drinks
- Ages 14–15: About 4 drinks
- Ages 16–17: About 5 drinks
- Ages 9–17: About 3 drinks
Did you know that 90% of youth drinking is done by binge drinking? Youth often drink at parties, for drinking games, or just to get drunk. Although this drinking may be infrequent, even one episode of binge drinking can cause harm.
The 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey lets us know that 68.9% of high school students believe that a typical student binge drank at least once or more per month.
Youth are especially at risk from binge drinking because they are less familiar with the effects of alcohol, may have a smaller body weight than adults and therefore reach the legal limit of intoxication quicker, do not necessarily drink “standard” drinks, and because of several factors associated with brain development (such as the gradual development of the prefrontal cortex, which is like the CEO of the brain).
Binge drinking for youth is associated with poor school performance.