Several surveys in the past couple of years show binge drinking is a problem that doesn't get better with age:
- The Coalition for a Drug-Free Greater Cincinnati 2014 Student Drug Use Survey, taken by 56,708 seventh through twelfth grade students from seven counties in the tri-state region, showed about 9 percent reported binge drinking in the past 30 days. (Binge drinking is defined as 5 or more glasses of beer, coolers or shots of liquor within a few hours
- That number rises to about 23 percent by their senior year in high school.
- The 2012 Hamilton County national Outcomes Measure Survey shows almost 69 percent of 18-25 year olds had at least one binge drinking episode in the past 30 days.
That's why several local organizations are launching a program that targets binge drinking by college age youth. It's called the Less Than U Think campaign--the idea being that most people aren't aware of what constitutes a drink (that huge beer at the local pub is not one drink; it's more like two) and how much will lead to impairment (less than you think).
The biggest concern is that binge drinking is a behavior that's fraught with risks.
"The harms that are associated with binge drinking like motor vehicle crashes and anything that requires skill or competency or decision making, judgment--all of that is affected," said Mary Haag, CEO of the Coalition for a Drug-Free Greater Cincinnati. "Drowning, sexual assaults--all of those types of things that happen as a result of too much consumption."
The campaign will use social media and various events to get the message out about the dangers of binge drinking. The University of Cincinnati, College of Mt. St. Joseph and the Hamilton County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board are partnering with the Coalition for the campaign.