Binge Drinking: Just the Facts

  1. Consumption of five or more drinks on a single occasion
    The amount of alcohol needed to raise the average person’s blood alcohol concentration to about 0.1%
  2. Amount of alcohol consumption that would raise the level of intoxication

Tailgates, houses, post prom parties, pre-parties, frat houses, bars, supervised parties, dorm rooms, bedrooms…binge drinking has and continues to happen in these places. Scary fact is this list is merely the tip of the iceberg. Binge drinking is more prevalent today among high school students and college-age young adults than ever before. Blame it on some stigma portraying the honorable ability of out drinking another person. Blame it on younger children drinking. Place fault where you please; the bottom line is that it’s out there.

Up Close and Personal

”He looked really bad, and even though they didn’t want me to take him in, I knew I had to.“ Trent stepped up and demanded that his overly intoxicated friend needed to go to the hospital. His buddy was thirty minutes away from death. The weapon, alcohol.

”The worst part wasn’t knowing that I almost died, it was when I came to. There sat my dad…crying. He just walked out of the room, unable to even speak to me,“ Nikki recalls from her freshman year of college after coming out of a three-day binge-drinking induced coma.


What’s binge drinking called on the street?

  • Power hour
  • Keg stand
  • 21 shots before bar close
  • Double fisting
  • Beer bong
  • Shotgun
  • Waterfall
  • Speed

The Consequences

Alcohol poisoning—a severe and potentially fatal physical reaction to an alcohol overdose—is the most serious consequence of binge drinking. When excessive amounts of alcohol are consumed, the brain is deprived of oxygen. The struggle to deal with an overdose of alcohol and lack of oxygen will eventually cause the brain to shut down the voluntary functions that regulate breathing and heart rate.

If a person is known to have consumed large quantities of alcohol in a short period of time, symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Unconsciousness
  • Cold, clammy, pale, or bluish skin
  • Slow or irregular breathing

Secondary Effects

In schools with high binge drinking rates…

  • 34 percent of non-binge drinkers reported being insulted or humiliated by binge drinkers
  • 13 percent reported being pushed, hit, or assaulted
  • 54 percent reported having to take care of a drunken student
  • 68 percent were interrupted while studying at night
  • 26 percent of women experienced an unwanted sexual advance

More facts

  • Binge drinking, often beginning around age 13, tends to increase during adolescence, peak in young adulthood (ages 18 to 22), then gradually decrease.
  • Binge drinking during the past 30 days was reported by 8 percent of youth ages 12 to 17 and 30 percent of those ages 18 to 20.
  • Among persons under the legal drinking age, 15 percent were binge drinkers
  • About 10.4 million adolescents ages 12 to 20 reported using alcohol. Of those, 5.1 million were binge drinkers, of which 2.3 million were heavy drinkers that binged at least five times a month.