Binge Drinking Crisis Among Teens, College Students

2:07 AM, Jul 29, 2010   |    comments
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FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA) --  YouTube is full of videos of young people who appear to be binge drinking. If you need proof it's happening everywhere, especially on college campuses, meet Ryan Smith.

He's with Virginia Tech's Center for Applied Behavior Systems which is studying alcohol consumption. They give 400 breathalyzer tests every Thursday night in Blacksburg, at Fraternity parties around and downtown. Recently, he saw a student urinate on herself.

"She walks to a tree, about five feet away. And, I just assumed she was going to go to the back of the tree. We didn't know what she was going to do, but she actually goes to the front of the tree and squats down, and doesn't remove her pants, nothing, just pees herself in front of everybody in downtown Blacksburg," he said. "But that's typical of what we see on a given night in Blacksburg."

Smith says more than 60% of their tests show people with over .08 blood alcohol content, the legal DUI limit. But 15% are over .2 BAC, more than twice the legal limit.

"It's about tremendous amounts consumed very rapidly and kids getting totally drunk," said Jeff Levy who lost his son in a drunk driving wreck after the driver, a student at Radford, had been binge drinking. "My son was one of five students that died in a single weekend in alcohol related incidents in college in Virginia."

Levy says parents need to be strict about not allowing their underage kids to drink.

"The kids say, 'Aw, come on, all the other kids are doing it.' I understand all the other kids are doing it. You don't have to do it. I wished that I had made a bigger issue out of it," said Levy.

Levy will be speaking at forum on binge drinking put on by the Fairfax County Police Department. He believes underage drinking is almost always binge drinking. "They don't have a glass wine their meal. They drink to get drunk," Levy says.

One thing parents will learn at the forum, is to keep tabs on their beer and wine in their garage refrigerators. Police say teens who like to binge drink, go house to house fridge-raiding.

"A lot of people like to joke around about binge drinking and how funny it is. But we're trying to show the other side, that there's a very serious side that often times they don't see, and they won't see, perhaps until they get to college," said Lucy Caldwell with the Fairfax County Police Department.

Police are hosting a second forum on Binge drinking because there was standing room only for the last one in May.

Written by Peggy Fox

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