Teen Drinking MAG

By Sarah Benett, Los Gatos, CA

Have you ever been offered an alcoholic beverage? What about someone saying “Don’t worry, just have one little sip”? Most people have their first drink by the time they’re 13. That first drink can be the start of a troubled life.

Drinking can make teens feel good, but that lasts only a short time. Teenagers on shows like “Gossip Girl” or “Degrassi” get drunk regularly, but those shows rarely ­explore the problems alcohol can cause. ­Alcohol clouds your brain and hinders your ability to make decisions. Excessive drinking literally makes your brain shrink and can cause serious damage. Binge drinking can cause learning disabilities and damage your memory. It distorts your ­vision and leads to blackouts. Teenagers often think that drinking will give you more energy, but alcohol isn’t an energy drink; it’s a depressant.

Drinking alcohol affects your inhibitions and makes you do things you wouldn’t if you were sober. Many girls get pregnant and drop out of school because they make the mistake of drinking too much and having unprotected sex. Twelve percent of 15- to 17-year-olds reported having unprotected sex when drinking or using drugs. Also, 24 percent said that because of drinking or drugs they had “done more” sexually than they had intended.

Sometimes girls don’t have a choice. Rape also happens when people drink too much. It only takes one night to mess up your life.

Drinking and driving is one of the top causes of death for teen boys. An alcohol-­related motor vehicle crash kills one person every 33 minutes and injures someone every two minutes. The rate of teenagers driving drunk is so high that the government is trying to pass new laws restricting teen driving.

When we get to high school, friends start pressuring us to drink. High school students see alcohol as glamorous and a way to become popular. I created a survey at my school. Twenty-four of the 63 respondents predicted they would drink in high school. Eleven said maybe, and 28 said they don’t plan on drinking.

Regardless of what they say now, things can change. Teens starting high school want to fit in. They ­often go from being top dog in junior high to being “fresh meat.” Some people will do anything to be accepted, including potentially hurting themselves. They think that one drink won’t do anything. A little bit of alcohol probably won’t kill you, but it can lead to poor decisions.

I’ve been pressured to do many things, ­including drinking. Drinking causes you to be vulnerable; be safe. High school is the time to experiment with what you want to do in life, but if you’re experimenting with alcohol you could hurt someone, including ­yourself.



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This article has 159 comments.


on Jan. 9 2017 at 12:10 am
Stalker_Panda BRONZE, Albuquerque, New Mexico
3 articles 44 photos 8 comments
A lot of times you dont even know youre doing it. Drinking with a bad stepdad by the age of 7 or 8 is pretty typical around here. Alcoholism is taught, its nice knowing people still care about our generationa s awhole, even us troubled ones. Well written, thank you.

mplo said...
on Jun. 3 2016 at 7:30 am
Very good, well-researched and well-written article, Sara B. Thank you.

on Jul. 13 2015 at 10:40 am
GG_LeBode PLATINUM, Brooklyn, New York
26 articles 0 photos 18 comments
I love the research put into this! It Shows the problem from a scientific perspective. Perhaps as a second draft, in order to make it more compelling and relatable, you could focus it around an antic dote of your own experiences with alcohol and/or binge drinking.

Gavin.L said...
on Feb. 23 2015 at 3:05 pm
Gavin.L, Celina, Ohio
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
people who drink are trying to get their problems away but it only makes it worse this is such a bad world filled with bad people but good people are doing the right thing

yoda said...
on Dec. 1 2014 at 8:29 pm
Yeah, what are you even doing on this site?  byyyeeee hater

darth said...
on Jun. 8 2014 at 8:57 pm
Couple things: 1) High school IS the time to experiment. When do You want to experiment later and how do You get the expertise? While working and raising kids? Most people who do drugs (any kind, including alcohol) in school do them very rarely or stop completly after graduation. 2) Author tries to divide the audience into "us" (cool kids, who refuse fun because mom says so), and "some people" (guys who will kill themselves in crashes and girls who will get pregnant and drop shool). Ever heard of the "driver" (someone who declares he'll not drink and drive, because he's taking medicine or goes visit his girlfriend afterwards... or something), or contraption? 3) Unprotected sex isn't alcohol's fault. It's not having spare condoms and closed grocery store's fault. 4) Rape mostly happens when people are not drunk. When they are it's called having a party and both sides are happy. 5) You can hurt someone and/ or Yourself always. Literally. No need for alcohol. But If You become violent/ mean after having a drink it just shows who You really are. Sad, but true. People who have 0 life experience and fragmentary knowledge writing articles.. What am I even doing on this site :/

darth said...
on Jun. 8 2014 at 8:25 pm
Great idea, I'll write an article on twinkies and oreos beaing "entry level sweets" followed by diabetes II and deathrate statistics of obese people.

NANA. said...
on Nov. 22 2013 at 11:14 am
NANA., Calexico, California
0 articles 1 photo 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
It's ok. Just breathe :)

You are totally right about this! I just scrolled down the comments and I noticed some people going on and off about how alcohol isnt as bad, or how you make it sound too evil. But, the moment you start denying that something, wether it'd be beer or weed or whatever, isn't as bad as it seems... you are just putting an excuse for it. Beer is proved scientifically to be damaging to our brain and bodyand If we start treating smoking weed or doing any other drugs... just like the media portrays beer, we will surely end in a world full of drunk/high people and full of many many deaths!

on Oct. 30 2013 at 11:39 am
The_Health_Radical BRONZE, Houston, Texas
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.” - Mark Twain
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” - Hippocrates
“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.” - Winston Churchill

This is a god article, well constructed, but the problem I have with it is that the statistics provided are almost irrelevant to the topic. Such as the people dying from alcohol car accidents every 33 minutes. I assume a teenager is someone who is still in high school. This statistic doesn't distinguish adults from teenagers. I know in Texas, you can not drive til you are 16 with a permit. So you basically have to have your parents in the car with you and any parent with common sense would not let their kid drive a car while they had previously been drinking alcohol. So these stats don't apply to kids, they apply to adults. Now i don't condone drinking, but there are many arguments that are flawed. I usually point those out because I am highly critical of what I consider is true, but nice article and very convincing.

on Apr. 30 2013 at 11:36 am
That is really true. I never thought of it that way.

MamaBear24 said...
on Nov. 26 2012 at 7:06 pm
I have to say, i do NOT agree with the phrase "it's part of growing up" because it is not. Teens choose to make it part of their lives. I am 18 and I have never been drunk or tipsy. Yes, I have taken sips but I can control myself. If I can, others can also. I think underage drinking is pointless. If you experience everything as a teen, by the time you're 21, what do you have to look forward to? So, I have to say, it's not  part of growing up. It's just a decision a lot of teens make.

lgee said...
on Oct. 26 2012 at 8:40 am
    When you are a teen you may have the urge to do what your friends are doing, because it is the cool thing to do to fit in. You shouldn’t be influenced and pressured to do things you don’t agree with and feel that it is wrong or unmoral. The long-term effects of teen drinking are much more dangerous than you think when taking your first sip of alcohol. Since your brain isn’t fully developed at a young age it can damage it forever. A recent study where scientist compared brain scans of teens that drank heavily and teens that didn’t showed that the teens that drank actually had damaged nerve tissue. Compared to the ones who didn’t. These are long term effects that actual effect your ability to comprehend and interpret visual information.  It can alter you learning ability forever. Watching shows on TV where they actually see this going on can make them feel that it is right. When they look at their role models on TV to some they want to be just like them. Everyone needs good remodels to follow and shouldn’t indulge in teen drinking when it can affect you forever. 

lgia said...
on Oct. 25 2012 at 9:34 pm
  When you are a teen you may have the urge to do what your friends are doing, because it is the cool thing to do to fit in. You shouldn’t be influenced and pressured to do things you don’t agree with and feel that it is wrong or unmoral. The long-term effects of teen drinking are much more dangerous than you think when taking your first sip of alcohol. Since your brain isn’t fully developed at a young age it can damage it forever. A recent study where scientist compared brain scans of teens that drank heavily and teens that didn’t showed that the teens that drank actually had damaged nerve tissue. Compared to the ones who didn’t. These are long term effects that actual effect your ability to comprehend and interpret visual information.  It can alter you learning ability forever. Watching shows on TV where they actually see this going on can make them feel that it is right. When they look at their role models on TV to some they want to be just like them. Everyone needs good remodels to follow and shouldn’t indulge in teen drinking when it can affect you forever. 

sadiakuta12 said...
on Oct. 22 2012 at 9:34 am
The dangers involved in teen alcoholism outweighs compatimentaling where it affects in our brains

DeleteMe said...
on Oct. 18 2012 at 4:59 am
DeleteMe, Nampa, Idaho
0 articles 0 photos 36 comments
Listen, alcohol isn't as evil as you're making it sound. I mean, 9 million children and teens ages 6 - 19 are overweight, according to www.getamericafit.org/, but I don't see anyone else writing an article warning them not to experiment with twinkies and ho-hos. I'm sorry if I'm coming off rude, but this topic is a bit redundant and drinking isn't as bad as you're making is sound. Take it from me, someone who has struggled with addiction and gone through hell for more than just alcohol, that it is not that bad. Yes, I lost myself in alcohol, but I learned so much and I became a better person because of it and I have friends who still drink and you know what? They're on the honor roll, they're in theater, and they're doing great. People are different, situations are different. I NEEDED alcohol, they don't. I depended on it, they don't. There is a difference.

DeleteMe said...
on Oct. 18 2012 at 4:43 am
DeleteMe, Nampa, Idaho
0 articles 0 photos 36 comments
I also agree with Matador.

DeleteMe said...
on Oct. 18 2012 at 4:42 am
DeleteMe, Nampa, Idaho
0 articles 0 photos 36 comments
Me too. I agree. Drinking can be bad, but it can be a good thing too. Nearly all good things can be abused.

DeleteMe said...
on Oct. 18 2012 at 4:40 am
DeleteMe, Nampa, Idaho
0 articles 0 photos 36 comments
I also completely agree!!!

JoshuaChen said...
on Aug. 13 2012 at 11:13 pm
JoshuaChen, Westborough, Massachusetts
0 articles 0 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
"All this philosophy Confucius me"

Alcoholism does not cause the entire brain to shrink, only the hippocampus. When in doubt, use Google. Even a small factual error like that makes the reader doubt your credibility and, as a result, your entire argument.

on Mar. 24 2012 at 5:16 pm
PoetryAngel14 PLATINUM, Ithaca, New York
26 articles 0 photos 53 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Dare to be imperfect and one day there will tug at your sleeve a soulmate." ~Robert Brault
"Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving." ~Albert Einstein

I completely agree!


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