Today is the last day of Alcohol Awareness Month. I admit I wasn’t really aware of this until last week, when I received an email from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about binge drinking among women underage and older.
I thought about writing about this but there’s nothing really new to write about on this topic. As the CDC points out, this is not generally recognized as a serious public health problem but it should be; according to its Vital Signs Report, one in five high school girls binge drink, defined as six four-ounce drinks per binge. Female binge drinkers average three binges a month.
So I hadn’t really focused on AA Month until I saw that Lake Havasu police arrested more kids for underage drinking this year than in the last two years. In fact, arrests were more than double last year’s arrests. Arrests for drug offenses were also double last year’s number, and disorderly conduct arrests were almost triple the number for last year.
Lake Havasu, for those who aren’t aware, is Spring Break Central in Arizona during March and early April. It’s more or less celebrated in our more august publications like The Arizona Republic, which can’t get enough photos of bikini babes to compete with their usual Monday photos of Scottsdale’s weekend bar babes.
It also gives Lake Havasu businesses a shot in the arm. Local resorts and hotels reported revenues up by as much as 20% for the month.
Police were also kept busier than usual this year. According to havasunews.com, this year’s spring festivities featured an uptick in arrests:
- 186 underage drinking arrests this year, compared to 67 last year and 59 in 2011
- 71 arrests for drug-related offenses, up from 37 last year
- 87 disorderly conduct arrests, compared to last year’s 31 arrests and 32 in 2011
Disorderly conduct arrests are usually in concert with alcohol- and drug-related arrests.
At least the kids weren’t drinking and driving as much, if you look at DUI arrests, which were slightly lower than last year’s.
Police said the increase in overall arrests during Spring Break was “crazy” this year. A spokesperson for the police department said there were more people at Lake Havasu this year, and more people showed up than expected.
Going back to the CDC report, I learned that binge drinking among women increases in the late teens and through the early 20s. Almost one-quarter of women 18 to 24 binge drink. The numbers do drop steadily after age 25.
White women and girls–who are most photographed at Spring Break–are most likely to self-report binge drinking.