Turning 21 is a right of passage for most young adults. All across America, young adults wait patiently for the day they can finally grab a drink legally but according to a recent study, this day can pose as a serious risk to their health. Twenty-one years of age is the legal drinking age in the United States. In 2008, a study performed by the University of Missouri at Columbia was named "21st Birthday Drinking: Extremely Extreme" and it was authored by Patricia C. Rutledge, PH.D. She and her colleagues analyzed 2,518 current and former college students with an online survey. The students in the study were asked whether or not they decided to drink on their 21st birthday and, if yes, how much alcohol they consumed. If you, or someone you know and care about is suffering from alcohol or substance abuse, please call Legacy Freedom. We offer the best in alternative alcohol and drug treatment in Raleigh NC, Charlotte NC and Columbus OH.
This study was the first of its kind to confirm the growing custom of "21 at 21". This means that young adults are engaging in the practice of drinking 21 alcoholic beverages the night they turn 21 years old. The study found that about 83% of participants drank on the 21st birthday. 34% of the men in the survey reported that they consumed 21 drinks or more compared to 24% of the women involved. For men, the maximum number of drinks consumed was 50 whereas the maximum amount for women came to a total of 30.
Serious Medical Concerns
Dr. Rutledge took the information from the study and estimated the blood alcohol content for the participants on their 21st birthday and the findings were a little shocking. The data reported that most of the participants, both male and female, would have been over legal limit for intoxication in all 50 states. 68% of all females, and 79% of the males participants in the study showed a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher on their birthday.
49% of the men and about 35% of the women had triple the legal levels of blood alcohol content. Their BAC estimates were around 0.26 whereas 0.08 is the legal limit. These astonishing numbers should be of great concern because in some situations this can cause coma and even death.
Young Drinkers Are at Risk
In a news release, Dr. Rutledge said "This study provides the first empirical evidence that 21st birthday drinking is a pervasive custom in which binge drinking is the norm," and that "This research should serve as evidence that there needs to be more public education about the dangers of 21st birthday binge drinking."
The study provided data that showed that the 21st birthday can even be problematic for previous non-drinkers. 36% of the students that were surveyed stated that even they participated in celebratory drinking on their 21st birthday when they had never participated in underage drinking before.
Dr. Rutledge stated that "The risks here are not limited to those with a history of problematic drinking, and there needs to be a strategy to address a custom that can lead to alcohol poisoning and, possibly, death."
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