12 – 20 Year Olds Drink 20% of the Total Alcohol Consumed in the U.S.; Avantcare Foundation and Last Call Program Announce a New Program For At-Risk Children

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About half of under-age Americans have used alcohol and the average child has their first alcoholic beverage at age 11. About 2 million people ages 12-19 are considered heavy drinkers, and 4.4 million are binge drinkers, which is why Avantcare Foundation and Last Call Program Announce “HORSEPLAY”, an Equine assisted program for at-risk children.

40% of 8th graders drank alcohol within the past 30 days so this presents quite a challenge.

Avantcare Foundation announces community-based Horseplay Programs for at-risk children. Carol Brawley, Avantcare Foundation Director and Last Call Program co-founder, sees the program as a way to help young, at-risk children before serious trouble comes to their lives. “By the time these kids are in college, it’s pretty late in the game,” says Brawley. “According to the CDC, 31% of college students meet DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse and 6% are alcohol dependent. There are 696,000 sexual assaults by students who have been drinking, 599,000 alcohol-related injuries, and 1,875 deaths. It’s way beyond “Just Say No”. 40% of 8th graders drank alcohol within the past 30 days so this presents quite a challenge.”

Brawley says the program will have a specific focus on age groups, “Horseplay is open to all children but especially young children of alcoholics. Children raised in alcoholic families have different life experiences than children raised in non-alcoholic families. They may be hampered by their inability to grow in developmentally healthy ways. When they need help, children of alcoholics are more likely to experience other family members as distant and non-communicative and eventually these children do not engage in family interaction. The problem is massive and with too little social awareness. We have had great results working with mostly adult Last Call Program clients in combination with equine assisted therapy and are looking forward to helping these children.”

Statistically, seventy-six million Americans, about 43% of the U.S. adult population, have been exposed to alcoholism in the family. Almost one in five Americans lived with an alcoholic while growing up.

Brawley also advises focus on longer-term issues, “Individuals who begin drinking in adolescence are at risk for developing alcoholism. The earlier a person begins drinking, the greater the risk.”

In a survey of over 40,000 adults indicated that among those who began drinking before age 14, nearly half had become alcohol dependent by the age of 21. By contrast, only 9% of people who began drinking after the age of 21 developed alcoholism. Children in alcoholic families who begin drinking before age 20 are more apt to underestimate the effects of drinking and to make judgment errors, such as going on binges or driving after drinking than young drinkers without a family history of alcoholism.

Dr. Frank Gibson, CEO of Avantcare, Inc. and founder of the Last Call Program has studied the relationship to a genetic, low-level response to alcohol. “While genetic factors do play a role in the development of alcoholism, this is often exaggerated when not considering the changes in children of alcoholics’ perception. There is an expanding base of literature that supports a combination of a heritable basis and a range of family influences that may direct the development of children of alcoholics. This will be the approach in Avantcare Foundation’s children’s programs.”

The Horseplay Programs will be offered on Avantcare Foundations retreat and educational facility (http://www.preciouswoodfarm.com) high in the mountains of North Carolina.

For more information contact Carol Brawley cjb.acfoundation(at)gmail(dot)com. Avantcare Foundation news and information can be viewed at http://www.avantcareinc.com.

Sources: S.E. Foster, R.D. Vaughan, W.H. Foster, J.A. Califano, "Alcohol Consumption and Expenditures for Underage Drinking and Adult Excessive Drinking," Journal of the American Medical Association 289, no. 8 (26 Feb 2003): 989-995.

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Frank Gibson
Avantcare, Inc.
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Avantcare, Inc.