A new study finds binge drinking among high school seniors has dropped slightly over the past several years, but the rate of extreme binge drinking, when teens consume 10 or more alcoholic beverages in one sitting, is holding steady.

Flickr User Arvindgrover
Flickr User Arvindgrover

Researchers at the University of Michigan found 10 percent of seniors reported gulping 10 or more drinks in a single bout over the previous two weeks, while data collected from 2005 to 2011 shows the overall rate of binge drinking - defined as consuming five or more drinks in a single sitting, dropped from 22 to 18 percent.

"We're concerned that the numbers are way too high, it's very disturbing, binge drinking is very dangerous because it affects the development of the brain, and anything that affects their judgment, their ability to learn, their ability to make proper decisions, all of those things are affected," says the Program Director of the Middlesex County Chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Ezra Helfand.

So why is this happening?

"They do not understand the negative consequences that go along with such activity," says Helfand. "They're influenced by movies, social media, pressure in the school from seeing other kids doing it. They are exposed to a lot of messaging that seems to draw them in and tell them, hey, this is something fun to do."

He stresses efforts to educate young people about the dangers of binge drinking must continue, and parents should do everything they can to let their children know they can wind up in the hospital by participating in this behavior.

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