Teens Gone Wild: Spring Break and Risky Behaviors

Spring break is a fun time of year for most students. It means relief from studying and hitting the books and is a good opportunity to relax and recover. For most students, though, spring break means partying, drinking, sex, and a whole lot of trouble. Partying during spring break has taken on epic proportions in the last couple of decades. High school seniors and college students travel to sunny places to have fun and cut loose, but they often take serious risks. Parents of students: beware. Spring break is a dangerous time.

Spring Break and Alcohol

Drinking has always been a part of the spring break tradition, but it is only in recent years that college students have made bingeing a part of the routine. Binge drinking means having more than four drinks for women, or five for men, in one sitting. Spring breakers take bingeing to another level. While the average American college student has six drinks per week, the average student has ten per day while on spring break.

The consequences of drinking so hard are serious and can range from getting into fights to getting sick to being a victim of a sexual assault. At South Padre Island, Texas, just one of many popular spring break destinations in the U.S. and Mexico, local law enforcement and first responders set up a mobile hospital at the beach. On just one day in 2013 the medical workers took in and treated more than 60 young people. Most were treated for excessive drinking and many of them were underage.

Getting sick is a minor worry compared to those who die on spring break. Do a quick Internet search on spring break deaths and you will see how many accidental deaths occur during what is supposed to be a relaxing and fun vacation. Many are tragic accidents related to drinking. According to the National Institutes of Health, alcohol-related deaths among college students are on the rise.

Spring Break and Sex

Where alcohol and partying are, sex is never far behind. As we all know, drinking lowers inhibitions and leads to making risky choices that would often not be made when sober. The combination of hard partying and drinking can lead to some sobering consequences. The statistics say that 49 percent of men and 38 percent of women claim that having sex on spring break was a direct result of being drunk.

Between 26 and 36 percent of male and female spring breakers failed to wear a condom when having sex at least one time on their trips. Three-quarters of college students report rarely using a condom when on spring break. Nearly half of both men and women regretted having drunken sex. The possible consequences are obvious: sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. Another possibility is sexual assault. Around half of all sexual assaults by men on women in college are related to alcohol.

Stay Safe and Still Have Fun

Popular culture promotes the idea of a wild and crazy spring break that seems like fun in the movies. In real life, the consequences of such risky behaviors are more serious. Taking a spring break trip can be safe if you take certain steps. The most obvious one is to limit drinking. Avoid getting drunk and you won’t have to regret your decisions. It also helps to make sure that you stick with friends. Make a pact to leave no one behind. This is especially important for women. Keep an eye on each other. With a few common sense precautions you can enjoy your spring break with no regrets.

There is still hope.

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