The recent death of a freshman at Miami University in Ohio due to a night of binge drinking puts the issue of underage binge drinking back in the headlines. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), excessive drinking among underage youth is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths each year. Drinking under the age of 21 is illegal. Yet people age 12-20 years drink 11% of all the alcohol consumed in the United States – with more than 90% of this alcohol consumed by binge drinking.
What is “binge drinking”?
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings the individual's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This BAC level is typically reached after an individual consumes 4 drinks (for females) or 5 drinks (for males) in approximately two hours. Consuming alcohol in this way poses serious health and safety risks, including car accidents, sexual assaults, charges of driving under the influence (DUI), and injuries. In addition, frequent binge drinking over the long term can damage the liver and other bodily organs.
Watch what you drink and how much
It is important for all those consuming alcohol to know exactly what counts as a drink. This is the best way to avoid binge drinking and its dangerous consequences. In the United States, a standard drink is considered a drink that contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol. What does this mean? By this standard, one drink is equivalent to:
- 12 ounces of beer (with 5% alcohol content)
- 5 ounces of wine (with 12% alcohol content)
- 5 ounces of distilled spirits (with 40% alcohol content)
It can be difficult to gauge these standard drink amounts when considering wine that is poured into a glass, beer that is poured into an oversized cup, or a mixed drink that can have much more alcohol than the 1.5 ounces that is considered “standard”. Different types of alcohol, as well as individual brands, contain varying levels of alcohol content, further complicating the issue. Learning what constitutes one drink and tracking the number of drinks consumed over a period of time is the key to avoiding binge drinking.
Underage binge drinking can have serious consequences
Binge drinking can result in a car accident, sexual assault, or a DUI charge. All of these are serious matters, particularly if the individual charged is underage. Penalties for underage DUI are stiff in Tennessee, as Tennessee has a “zero tolerance” policy. The skilled Tennessee DUI attorneys at Dotson & Taylor Attorneys at Law in Murfreesboro have more than 40 years of combined experience in all areas of family and criminal law. If you or a loved one has been involved in underage drinking that has resulted in a violation of the law, do not wait to schedule an appointment with a member of our team. Contact our office today at 615-890-1982 or contact us online to schedule a free confidential consultation. Our attorneys are available to meet during the evening or on weekends for your convenience.