The Post-it note left on an Arizona State University student who was left in a wheelchair, passed out, in front of a hospital said he had participated in a fraternity drinking competition and downed about 20 shots of tequila. He was 19 years old.
Good thing the fraternity brothers wheeled him to the hospital in spite of what the Associated Press reported was their concern everyone would get in trouble if they did. His blood-alcohol content was at life threatening levels – six times the legal limit for driving – at .47.
The illegal use of alcohol by people under the age of 21 is a symptom of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls a "major" public health problem. Each year, more than 4,700 people under age 21 die from their alcohol consumption, CDC statistics show.
Kids 12 to 20 years of age consume about 11 percent of all alcohol in the United States. And, says the CDC, 90 percent of the alcohol they consume is by binge drinking, defined as five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women consumed in two hours.
The CDC estimates that binge drinking costs the US $1.90 a drink, or $223.5 billion in 2006, due to health care costs, crime, and productivity loss.