Alcohol on the rise for women

Dr. Larry Gentilello
Dr. Larry Gentilello
Nicole Holt
Nicole Holt

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) – A new study shows women are drinking men under the table. They are also getting arrested more for drunk driving.

Public drunkenness among women, many of them underage, is happening more frequently and not just at spring breaks. Dr. Larry Gentilello at the University of Texas says underage drinking is up.

"The number of drunken driving arrests and fatalities involving women has gone up about 600 percent," said Gentilello.

The trend is reflected in Texas. The most recent arrest data reports the number of underage arrests of men driving drunk decreased by over seven percent, but the number increased for females by almost 97 percent.

The Uniform Crime Report also shows a very direct relationship between underage drinking and other very serious crimes.

"We're seeing violence, unwanted sexual activity. The things parents don't want to hear about their kids," said Nicole Holt, with Texans Standing Tall.

Women drinking causes long-term consequences.

"That is a woman who is drinking and driving is much more likely to get into a crash than a man. We also know alcohol seems to damage the liver, the heart, and brain of women much more quickly than it does men," said Dr. Gentilello.

Influencing factors leading women to drink include media attention on youthful celebrities who go wild, the marketing of sweet alcoholic drinks, and more acceptances toward the drunken women.

"If society glamorizes it, we just enforce the law. If our young people get their hands on alcohol, we find out what retailer sold it to them and law enforcement enforces it," said Holt. " If we find out they're going to a party and alcohol is going to be there, we don't allow our kids to go to it,"

All good advice, but not taken readily, in East Texas. Prevention experts say their number one problem is social hosting, where parents host underage drinking parties in an effort to supposedly keep their kids safe.

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