CDC calling binge drinking a "major public health problem"

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- "It seems a little bit unbelievable almost," said Westside High School Senior, Haulston Mann.

Haulston Mann is talking about newly released numbers by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  that say nationally, one in four high school students binge drinks.

"It's kind of scary, yeah," said Mann.

"Kids kind of go through a phase when they think they are invincible," said Patricia Blake, Westside High School Counselor.

Blake says students need to know the dangers of risky behavior, including binge drinking.

"This is critical" said Blake.

Blake says work to reduce all risky behavior, including binge drinking, starts with opening the lines of communication.

"When students feel that there is an adult that they have access to that they feel comfortable and safe with, there's opportunities to talk about all kinds of decisions both good ones and bad ones," said Blake.

"Alcohol is a drug and that it's a deadly drug," said Dorothy Newsom at CRDC's Prevention Resource Center.

Newsom says preventing teens from binge drinking means being proactive and raising awareness.

"The thing about prevention is that we have finally figured out that we need to be using peer pressure to promote the fact that the majority of our youth do not use," said Newsom.

For Haulston, he says making good decisions is top priority, because he knows decisions made now, can follow him long after his school days are done.

"I've always thought that high school, I mean this is when you're building who you're going to be for the rest of your life," said Mann.

The CDC defines binge drinking as having five or more drinks within a couple of hours for men, and four or more drinks in a couple of hours for women.

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