Barton County, Kansas Sees High Rate Of Binge Drinking

In 2008, a total of 19 percent of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 20 reported binge drinking, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Substance abuse programs for youth are geared toward preventing underage drinking, but many kids are still finding a way to get their hands on alcohol.

In one Kansas community, a survey revealed that an alarming number of children are drinking illegally. The 2010 Communities That Care survey recently revealed that Barton County has a 20.7 percent binge drinking rate among adolescents. This is well above the state average, which is 13.7 percent, according to the Great Bend Tribune.

“The youth brain is not fully developed until age 24,” Regional Prevention Consultant Christina Hayes told the news source. “The damage can be drastic because bodies are not developed. If they drink heavily at age 16, it can damage the brain.”

Barton County also has a high number of other risk factors, including drug use at an early age, availability of drugs and alcohol, negative family relationships and anti-social behavior.

Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance among teens in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. Rehabilitation facilities can help adolescents who are dependent on alcohol turn their lives around.