Many Australian teens are consuming up to 17 alcoholic drinks at one time that often results in regrettable sexual encounters and loss of consciousness, new research has found.
A study of 16- to 19-year-olds representing the 25 percent who drink the most among their peers has led to calls for greater action to help this vulnerable group of young Australians.
Conducted by researchers at Monash and Curtin Universities, the study found the heaviest-drinking teen boys, most of whom were either either at university of still in school, consumed on average 17 standard drinks during their last big drinking session.
Teen girls drank around 14 standard alcoholic drinks.
Half of those surveyed for the study, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health journal, described this session as a 'normal get-together'.
Most said they experienced at least one negative consequence of this drinking.
A quarter said they could not remember large stretches of time, while 10 percent passed out.
Eight percent reported getting into sexual situations they later regretted following the binge that lasted an average of of 6.3 hours.
Interestingly, 65 percent reported they found it easier to talk to people and many reported feeling more calm or peaceful and brave.
The most popular drinking location was a private home, with 85 percent drinking either at their own or another person's home.
Thirty percent drank at a bar, pub or club and 17 percent drank in a public area such as a park.
The authors of the study say it's clear this population is not just at risk of alcohol dependence but from the acute consequences of their heavy drinking.
"This vulnerable population is currently underserved by mainstream surveys and requires targeted attention to further investigate the drivers of their heavy alcohol use and in turn, their overall wellbeing," the authors wrote.