Binge drinking up in District 113
Alcohol use among District 113 students
Updated: January 3, 2013 7:30AM
More than one-third of seniors in the Class of 2012 at Highland Park and Deerfield high schools reported a recent episode of binge drinking on a survey last spring, and three in five reported consuming alcohol in the past 30 days.
When asked, 38 percent of 12th grade students at District 113’s two high schools said they’d engaged in “binge” drinking within the past two weeks. Binge drinking was defined as consuming five or more alcoholic beverages. The figure has risen with each survey since 2008. The survey was taken by 1,400 students at the two schools.
The percentage of seniors reporting some alcohol use in the past month, 61 percent, also marked an increase from previous surveys.
Most of the teens thought their parents would disapprove of regular drinking. However, the disapproval rate reported by seniors — 67 percent — was down from prior surveys and suggested that some parents are more accepting of alcohol use as students age. Among sophomores, 89 percent felt their parents would frown on regular drinking.
“Research shows that parental disapproval is the number one reason youth choose not to drink,” said Kasey Silberman, chair of “Parents. The Anti-Drug,” an organization of parents in District 113 communities that encourages regular communication about the risks of substance use. “These discussions are not a one-time conversation but need to be communicated often.”
The statewide survey, given to Illinois students in middle school and high school, is conducted by the Center for Prevention Research and Development at the University of Illinois. Parents are notified in advance and can ask that their students not participate. About 1,400 sophomores and seniors at Highland Park and Deerfield high schools took the survey.
Speaking just as a parent, Silberman said the dramatic increase in alcohol usage and binge drinking between 10th and 12th grade underscores that parents need to be vigilant in their communications. “Just because teens are going to be going away to college, it is still illegal and unsafe for them to use,” said Silberman.
While consumption of alcohol was up, as reported by students themselves, most respondents perceived drinking to carry “moderate or great” risk of physical or other harm.