Teen Alcohol Abuse - What Parents Need to Teach Their Teenagers

All About Teen Alcohol Abuse - What Parents Need to Know

It has taken me over a year to be able to write this story about teen alcohol abuse. It was last year at 2 am on New Year's Day that I got the call. My friend was frantic, but apologetic.

"Laura, I'm so sorry to wake you up, but my son stayed the night at a friend's house on New Year's Eve and the parent at the house just called me. She said that my son drank a fifth of tequila and he pooped his pants. She said that he's not responding."

"Call 911," I ordered. "That sounds like alcohol poisoning. Where does this family live? I'll meet you at the house. I'll throw on a coat and leave right now."

When I arrived at the house, the parent who had held the sleepover greeted me at the door. She led me into a bedroom—actually a garage that had been converted into a bedroom. The smell of vomit and feces hit me in the face as I stepped down into the room. My friend's son lay on the carpeted floor of the garage with just his boxers on. Another boy was in a stupor on the bed. It was freezing cold in the room.

I noticed that the side door to the converted bedroom was ajar. "Why do you have that door open? It's freezing in here." I asked the woman who owned the house.

"I thought it would wake the boys out of their alcoholic stupor," she replied.

"People die from hypothermia when they're drunk." I said. "Please close that door." This woman was a medical professional and should have known better. She was scared and seemed more concerned about what might happen to her than the teenage boys who had spent the night at her house. Teen alcohol abuse statistics show that a large number of teens, die not from alcohol poisoning, but from hypothermia because they can't walk and are left out in the cold. "Get some blankets. Did you call 911?"

Low body temperature is a sign of teen alcohol abuse and can quickly lead to hypothermia.

I tried to rouse my friend's son. This is the boys whose diapers I used to change and here he was at sixteen years old, a fuzzy mustache on his lip, laying in his vomit, his boxers full of excrement, yet another sign of alcohol poisoning. I called his name, but he did not respond. I cleaned him quickly, wrapped him in blankets and sat him up. He smiled dopily at no one in particular, his eyes completely unfocused and I caught him again when he almost slumped back down to the floor. I set him down gently and turned his head to the side so he would not choke on his own vomit. He could not sit up on his own and I had to attend to the other boy.

I asked to see the bottle of alcohol the boys had drank. I asked where the parent had been when the boys were getting drunk. The woman had been out with her boyfriend who was a police officer. Although these were important details for later discussion, what was most important was getting these boys to the hospital immediately, so they could be properly hydrated and treated for teen alcohol poisoning.

When my friend rushed into the bedroom and spotted her son who was practically comatose from binge drinking, she let out a cry that pierced the quiet tension in the room. There was her son, a good student and star athlete, laying face down on the carpet with drool running down the side of his mouth. She called his name and there were no signs of recognition. She squatted down next to him and stroked his hair, tears rolling down her face.

We wait, barely breathing until the paramedics arrived. We were frightened that the boys would die. It was terrifying, all that strength, vigor and potential, hanging by a fragile thread that connected them so tenuously to life.

When the paramedics arrived, they checked their vitals, put them on gurneys and rushed them to the hospital and then, the long bedside vigil began. Of course, the boys fully recovered, but other teens are not so fortunate.

Teen Alcohol Abuse: Talking Points for Parents and Kids

  • Talk to your kids about teen alcohol abuse. Explain binge drinking, its dangers and consequences. Talk about the pressure to binge drink from other teens. Talk about the warning signs that inform a person that they are getting drunk.
  • Talk about the symptoms of alcohol poisoning: the drinker can't be roused, they are in a stupor or coma-like state. Other symptoms include seizures, vomiting, decreased or irregular breathing and hypothermia (cold to the touch, pale, bluish tinge to skin.)
  • If your teen witnesses a friend or acquaintance with alcohol poisoning, calling 911 could save their life. It's better to save a life and risk someone getting mad at you, then to regret that you could have taken action, but did not. No one wants that kind of guilt hanging over their head for the rest of their life.
  • Giving someone coffee will not sober them up, nor will food, a shower or trying to walk it off. What the drunk person needs is time to sleep it off and hopefully, they will awake with such a hangover, that they will never abuse alcohol again.

To prevent teen alcohol abuse, talk to kids about peer pressure and making choices to guide their lives. Teach them alternative ways to release stress. Advise them to never drive while intoxicated or get into a car with a driver who is drunk. Tell them that you will come and get them at any hour, rather than letting them drive home with someone who is intoxicated.

An effective way to treat teen alcohol abuse is with an at-home behavioral change program that teaches parents how to set firm yet loving limits while making better choices. Teen alcohol abuse statistics show that excessive drinking during the teen years can turn a lifelong problem with alcohol abuse. Take care of this problem now. To learn more about the program and how it can create help create real changes in your child, click on Total Transformation review.

Copyright © 2010 by Laura Ramirez. All rights reserved.

Laura Ramirez is the award-winning author of the parenting book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting and the companion workbook/journal. The book teaches parents how to raise kids to develop their strengths and lead productive and fulfilling lives.

Teen Alcohol Abuse - Teen Parenting


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