Never Have I Ever

By Shamus Cleveland, Hannah Stewart and Brittany Fox

Underage drinking parties have been going on since alcohol was invented.  And it’s no secret that drinking games are quite popular among teens.  One of these games is called “Never Have I Ever”, where someone reveals an interesting fact about themselves that their friends may have never known about them.  The statement also has to be something that person has never done before.  For instance, “Never have I ever played strip-poker.” Anyone who has played strip-poker, has to take a drink.  The game keeps going around and round until everyone is practically passed out drunk…

While this may seem like all fun and games (or even a “rite of passage”), if you engage in drinking games you are more likely to develop an alcohol dependence over time.  This is mainly because drinking games encourage binge drinking and even heavy drinking.  Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking usually corresponding to 5 or more drinks on a single occasion for men or 4 or more drinks on a single occasion for women, generally within about 2 hours.  Heavy drinking, for men, is typically defined as consuming an average of more than 2 drinks per day, or more than 14 drinks per week. For women, heavy drinking is typically defined as consuming an average of more than 1 drink per day, or more than 7 drinks per week.  Heavy or Binge drinking can lead to increased participation in risky behaviors such as drug use, sex with 6 or more partners and low grades such as D’s or F’s in school. Research shows if you use alcohol before age 15 you are five times more likely to become alcohol dependent than adults who begin drinking at age 21  Making these choices while under the influence may lead to regrets later.  #respectyourfuture

The big issue with these patterns of drinking is that the your brain is not ready for these extreme amounts of alcohol.  During adolescence, the brain is making a lot of connections between nerve cells, specifically in the Frontal Lobe (also known as the Prefrontal Cortex).  This is the part of the brain that controls a person’s reasoning, judgment, decision-making, short-term memory, and, to some extent, concentration.  The problem with playing these drinking games (which inevitably involve binge drinking) is that during this stage of brain development the nerve cell connections get confused by the large amounts of alcohol that is consumed.  The possible end result is a prefrontal cortex that is not fully developed and a greater chance of alcohol dependence. #braingames #sobersmart

Morgan County Teens say:

67.7% of 9th graders say Never Have I Ever used drugs

28.2% of 12th graders say Never Have I Ever used alcohol in the past year

93% say Never Have I Ever seriously thought about suicide

Let’s work together so that more of us can say Never Have I Ever made bad choices that risk my future!

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