What some are calling a binge drinking epidemic among teenaged girls and young women has its roots in an accepting and even encouraging society and the way alcoholic beverages are marketed toward women. "Look at the flavorful drinks that exist out there right now. The flavored vodkas, that kind of thing so it's becoming a very scary culture," said Mr. Harlen. Misericordia University Addictions Counselor Darcy Brodmerkel added, "The drinks that they can get a hold of or that they are concocting these days are very sweet, fruity and appealing so they go down a lot easier."
Ms. Brodmerkel educates students during their college years about binge drinking risks -- including a risk of crime. "It can be very frightening particularly with some of the young women having to do with the possibility of sexual assault." Despite all of the dangers, many teen girls and young women still binge drink -- in some cases to fit into a grown-up world. "I think it's definitely more appealing when you're not of age than when you are of age," said Misericordia senior Kami Nestler.
One peer pressure that teenaged girls and young women face today when it comes to binge drinking comes from, of all places, social media. Mr. Harlen says, "You can go on anybody's Facebook account and you'll see abundant pictures of people partying, people drinking." 19-year-old Misericordia sophomore Jillian Fife added, "You can definitely tell there that that's what it's all about. Their senior year, they're going out having a good time." Ms. Fife speaks of high school seniors posting their drinking escapades online back home in Callicoon, New York but it really could be any town. Misericordia Senior Haley Brandt can't help but be concerned for her 17-year-old sister. "It does worry me but I know she does have a good head on her shoulders and she hopefully won't make like dumb decisions."
The CDC reports that drinking too much, including binge drinking, causes about 23,000 deaths among women and girls in the U.S. each year.