HOUSTON (FOX 26) - "It's mind-blowing how much people are drinking," said Dr. Joseph Galati with Liver Specialists of Texas.
Even more mind-blowing, the age of drinkers and the amount they drink.
"I see 20-year-olds rolling into my office or to the hospital in liver failure, others the early stages of cirrhosis or actual cirrhosis, maybe needing a liver transplant all because of their behavior which started in their teenage years," said Dr. Galati.
Binge drinking among college students and young adults is on the rise and so are deaths.
The Centers for Disease Control says the number of 25-to-34-year-olds who died annually from alcohol-related liver disease nearly tripled from 259 deaths in 1999 to 767 in 2016. That's an annual average increase of around 10 percent.
"When I talk to young people with alcohol-related liver disease, I will say, 'If you really want to see what can happen to you, let's walk to the liver ICU where people are waiting for liver transplants that are probably within 3-to-5 years of how old you are,'" said Dr. Galati. He also said he's written letters for three of his patients in college asking schools and fraternities to not discriminate against them for not drinking.
"I basically told them, 'If you go back to drinking, there's a chance you're going to develop even more advanced disease and/or die, take your pick,'" said Dr. Galati.