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New report shows problems with Binge Drinking

October 5, 2010 2:44:30 PM PDT
A troubling government report about kids and alcohol says1 in 4 high school students and young adults engaged in binge drinking within the past month.

Binge drinking is defined as 4 or 5 drinks in a short amount of time.

The problem is obvious, the solution not so much.

The government report, released today by the Centers for Disease Control, paints a sobering picture of a deadly pastime.

They say one quarter of teens and young adults, admit to binge drinking and among high school students who drink, two thirds of them do so, simply to get drunk.

It's a disturbing trend of alcohol abuse, which the government blames for 79,000 deaths nationwide, every year.

"We were just in utter shock. He was not the kind of kid that we thought could die in this way," said Suzanne Fields.

Matthew Sunshine was just 19, a freshman at Northwestern University when upperclassmen fed him shot after shot of vodka in his own dorm room. He didn't survive the night.

His mom Suzanne Fields teaches medicine at Stony Brook University.

"At his funeral we asked friends the question why didn't anyone cut him off? Why didn't anyone call for help? And they said we just didn't realize you could die from this," adds Fields.

So now, in Matthew's name, Stony Brook has launched a groundbreaking program to educate teens about the dangers of binge drinking.

Lara Hunter runs the program, called Red Watch Band, which teaches students how to spot alcohol poisoning, and how to convince friends enough is enough.

It's proved so popular, the program has a waiting list at Stony Brook. And after less than two years, it's already being implemented at over 100 other colleges and high schools, across the country.

"I think this program is saving lives for his legacy and helping students understand that alcohol overdose is deadly," said Hunter.

For more on the Red Watch Band program, go to www.stonybrook.edu/sb/redwatchband

CDC REPORT: www.cdc.gov


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