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Dysart Willis

Binge drinking can lead college kids down the road to DWI

As a parent, you probably do not indulge in binge drinking, but your college-age child might have taken it up, even while he was still in high school.

With so many colleges located in and around Raleigh, you can be sure some of the students who have charges of driving while impaired are binge drinkers.

The age group

As far back as 2007, the Surgeon General reported on the link between binge drinking and teens. He pointed out that young people have different drinking patterns than their parents. While teens do not drink as often as adults, as many as two-thirds of them engage in binge drinking. They also tend to drink more as they grow older, consuming large amounts of alcohol at intervals over the years.

The definition

The standard definition of binge drinking comes from the habits of college students. It refers to the act of consuming a minimum of five consecutive drinks for a male and four for a female within a period of about two hours. This will bring the blood alcohol concentration level of the drinker to at least 0.08 percent. For North Carolina drivers 21 years of age and older, this is the legal limit, but a minor can face a DWI charge for any alcohol whatsoever found in the bloodstream.

Effects of binge drinking

Binge drinkers face possible health consequences that include high blood pressure and liver disease, plus neurological damage that can result in mood swings, memory lapses and trouble concentrating — not good for students. In terms of traffic accidents, binge drinkers appear to be largely at fault for crashes related to alcohol.

Serious consequences

If your child is an underage binge drinker and charged with DWI, you should worry about the effect on his plans for the future. An attorney will tell you that driving while impaired is a serious offense that carries harsh criminal and civil penalties. It may also affect a young person’s personal and educational opportunities. In all respects, your child will have to ask himself, is binge drinking worth it?