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Spring break is once again upon us. This is a time of year when young adults from around the country converge on warm spots to relax, unwind, and get some sun and party after months of studying. In 2012, the top spring break destinations included Cancun, Mexico, Panama City, Florida and Nassau, Bahamas. Many popular spots within the U.S. tend to relax their rules during this season to see an increase in revenue and abroad the legal drinking age can be 18. Students attest that the goal is often to drink to access. While some underage drinkers have experience with alcohol and how much they can tolerate, most push the limits unaware of the risks they are taking.

Unfortunately, every year we hear heartbreaking stories of an underage drinker becoming unresponsive after a night of partying. Already today the headlines include a story about a 20-year-old college student from Michigan who was on spring break in Panama City, Florida and has died in an alcohol-related incident.

Students across the nation could benefit from taking an online alcohol and drug awareness class to learn the risks and repercussions of binge drinking. Learning this information prior to spring break escapades could save many lives. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as any time one reaches a BAC level of .08% or higher. Other definitions state that it’s 4 – 5 drinks over a short period of time with the intention of becoming quickly intoxicated. When someone partakes in binge drinking they are creating adverse effects on their cardiac rhythm, blood pressure, and white blood cell activity. Heavy binge drinking during adolescence is also associated with an increased risk of alcoholism, and poor decision making skills that lead to earlier sexual activity and generally dangerous behavior.

If you are a parent reading this article, the solution is to arm your child with the information they need to avoid this behavior. Have your adolescent take an alcohol and drug awareness class from the comfort of their dorm room or home on their computer. Online classes enable the student to learn the material at his or her own pace, whenever time allows. Students can login and out for any amount of time, and at any time of the day or night. Young adults who have grown up with computers in their life particularly like this way of learning. The entire class is on the screen in front of you with nothing to print out or download.

Online MIP classes are also available if your child has already been cited with a court order, school or other legal requirement because they have been caught as a minor in possession of alcohol, drugs or paraphernalia. Classes are available in 8, 12, 16, 20 or 24-hour lengths and are designed to fulfill an education mandate. At the end of the course, the student will receive a Certificate of Completion to prove he has successfully taken the course.

Underage drinking is a huge problem in the U.S. Teens are in a vulnerable time of their lives and social drinking pressures can be intense. Give them the education to understand why they should limit or abstain from drinking and drugs. Education is the key to prevention.