N.J. experts, educators reach out to binge drinkers

Binge drinking is a growing problem in New Jersey. A new prevention effort aims to curb it.

Studies show that 42 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds in New Jersey are binge drinking. That means consuming five or more drinks over a short period of time.

New Jersey Prevention Network executive director Diane Litterer said parents who communicate with their college-age children can make a difference.

“A lot of parents feel that once kids reach 18, they don’t listen to them anymore,” said Litterer. “What our studies have found is, actually, parental influence is one of the most significant things that can changes kids’ opinion on whether they use alcohol, when they use alcohol, being responsible once they’re 21.”

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Angelo Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, agreed.

College students “who have more communications with their parents are less likely to binge drink, knowing that someone is concerned about their actions and knowing that they have a place to turn in times of need,” he said.

Litterer said binge drinking can result in violence, traffic accidents, and health problems that cost the state more than $1 billion a year.

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