Written by Kathleen Davis and Kelsey McClear
*Mary Brown is a Seaholm junior, varsity athlete and a talented musician. Come Friday, she tends to follow a particular routine.
“[I drink] probably every weekend,” Brown said.
A frequent party-goer, Brown said she doesn’t think her actions are destructive to herself or others.
“I only consider consequences when me or a friend is out of hand or really drunk. I don’t consider consequences before or while I’m drinking, just after.” Brown said.
Brown isn’t alone. According to the Center of Disease Control survey from January 2013, 20% of high school girls admitted to binge drinking in the past 30 days.
CDC qualifies an episode of binge drinking as consuming four or more drinks in a two hour period.
Applying the national data locally, if the CDC data is accurate, on any given weekend 140 Seaholm girls binge drink.
An increasingly popular weekend occurrence, 45% of high school freshmen reported binge drinking in the past 30 days. This number continues to rise continuously by grade level, with 63% of seniors admitting to consuming four or more drinks in a two hour period, according to the CDC survey.
The CDC also reports that girls of White or Hispanic backgrounds living in households with an income over $75,000 are the most likely to engage in such activity.
Another Seaholm student, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Highlander that she drinks substantially about once a month. Although she’s conscious about consequences, she does it because it’s “fun.”
Young girls who frequently binge drink are prone to a plethora of health issues.
“Women’s and girls’ bodies respond to alcohol differently than men’s. It takes less alcohol for women to get intoxicated because of their size and how they process alcohol,” said the CDC.
Lack of control during a binge can frequently lead to unintentional injuries, being sexually taken advantage of, and sexually transmitted diseases. Long-term effects can range everywhere from high blood pressure, liver disease, and neurological damage.
West Bloomfield-based pediatrician Isabel Holland-Davis frequently sees young patients who binge drink and is familiar with the physical consequences which occurs.
“High doses of alcohol at an early age may result in lasting effects in neurophysiologic function,” Holland-Davis said. “There is an increase of adult alcohol abuse and dependence in young people who abuse alcohol at an early age.”
According to a 2010 study by the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition, the most common way for a person under 21 to receive alcohol is by someone of legal age to buy it for them.
Consequences for parents caught housing a group of young people under the influence of alcohol can be incredibly severe. Adults can be sentenced up to 93 days in jail, fined up to $1000, and be granted a criminal record.
Birmingham Public School’s crisis counselor, Sherree Wilson, is a firmly against underage drinking.
“Parents need to pay closer attention,” Wilson said. “You are responsible for the kids in your house and you need to check on them.”
Wilson believes that students don’t believe that there are consequences to underage age drinking.
“The attitude that that’s okay,” Wilson said. “It’s not good for your health, it’s not good for your reputation, it’s not good for anything.”