Alcohol was in the air, and to an extent that a breathalyzer detected it. The ambient air inside a house in Bethesda, Maryland, where a fraternity party was held recently, registered .01 on a breathalyzer. Around 70 people, mainly American University students, were partying when three patrol officers raided the site on a local residents’ call.
According to court documents, the windows were covered with insulation and trash bags as the police entered the house. Liquor bottles and beer cans were littered around the house and the basement was sticky with alcohol spilled all over it. While eight individuals were found hiding inside a bathroom, one person was caught while he attempted an escape by jumping off the second storey window. However, the police charged six inhabitants of the house with 126 counts of allowing underage possession of alcohol and furnishing it to a minor.
Kevin Lewis of ABC7 tweeted, “MoCo 9Montgomery County Police bust Bethesda drinking party on Mass. Avenue. 70 minors inside rental…Indoor air .01 on breathalyzer. The six party hosts attend American University + are members of SAE (Sigma Alpha Epsilon) frat. All six facing 126 criminal counts + $315k in fines.”
Underage drinking is one of the major public health problems in the United States. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 9.2 percent Americans (2.3 million) aged 12 to 17 years reported alcohol consumption in the past month in 2016. In addition, nearly 4.9 percent, amounting to 1.2 million, adolescents in the same age group were current binge drinkers.
Underage drinking is associated with a number of risks and negative consequences. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that on average, 4,358 people under the age of 21 succumb to alcohol-related causes each year. This includes motor vehicle crashes, suicides and alcohol poisoning, falls and drowning.
Drinking is known to affect decision-making capability and increase engagement in risky behavior like drunk driving, unprotected sex and aggressive or violent activity. Underage drinkers are more vulnerable to conduct or stand victim to a physical or sexual assault over their non-drinking peers. Adolescents who drink have higher risk of using other drugs than teens who don’t. Experts suggest that people who initiate drinking before the age of 15 have four times higher risk of meeting the criteria for alcohol dependence at some point in their lives.
Alcohol, as researchers indicate, may adversely affect normal brain development in adolescents, potentially damaging brain structure and functioning. Teenagers who take to drinking are also likely to have cognitive or learning problems and increased risk of alcohol dependence.
A successful alcohol control strategy must consider important factors, including family history, personality and level of risk. Parents and teachers can help develop an aversion toward drinking through guidance and awareness. They should discuss the dangers of drinking with children. Parents can help discourage drinking by creating a non-drinking atmosphere in the house. They should be watchful of their children’s behaviors outside home.
Research shows that children whose parents are actively involved in their lives are less likely to drink alcohol. Most importantly, guardians should stay vigilant about possible signs of alcohol use among their children. This will help them take timely measures to prevent increased dependence and other associated problems. Medical assistance is recommended in cases where behavioral counselling alone does not help.
If your wards are grappling with alcohol abuse, contact the 24/7 Recovery Helpline that offers information on best available treatment options and a reputed mental health rehab center near you. Call at our 24/7 mental health helpline number 855-441-4405 or chat with one of our online representatives to know more about addiction treatment centers near you.