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.


Alex said...
on Mar. 9 2012 at 9:33 am
Well, as a teen before it is quite hard to resits drinking too. <a http://www.learn2serve.co.uk/online-responsible-alcohol-retailing-certification">alcohol retailing</a>

jacqueline31 said...
on Feb. 19 2012 at 12:08 pm
jacqueline31, San Rafael, California
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life isn't about finding yourself. It's about creating yourself." ~George Bernard Shaw

I think the only problem I have with this piece is that it comes off very black and white. A situation like drinking, especially for teens, is not blank and white. There are many shades of gray depending on which teen, because all teens are different, just like adults. I live in Marin County. It has the highest binge drinking rate for teens in the country. When I go to parties, the scene of the party is not socializing and having fun with people, it's the actual drinking. How many shots can you take? Let's do more! Let's keep drinking until we're so impaired that we simply cannot function, or until the cops show up. There are a lot of reasons for why Marin teens binge drink statistically more than the rest of the teens in the United States. But I think that something to be known is that, yes, there are the kids who will drink 15 shots and pass out, or attempt to drive home. But you have to remember there are also the kids who stay sober, or have just a few drinks to get them a little tipsy. We have to remember that not everyone is black or white, even though it can be very easy to generalize people into one category. Teens drink. It's part of growing up. It's part of experimenting, learning about ourselves and our limits. Learning who our friends are, who we can trust. We have to make mistakes. And hopefully, we learn from them.

on Feb. 19 2012 at 8:51 am
KPetty13 BRONZE, Saint Cloud, Florida
4 articles 0 photos 22 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you're lucky enought to be different, never change." ~ Taylor Swift

What I don't understand is people know drinking is bad. We've been lectured about it in school since Kindergarden. So, why are people continuing to drink?

on Jan. 28 2012 at 10:15 pm
DifferentTeen PLATINUM, Seaford, Delaware
32 articles 2 photos 332 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There’s no such thing as true love, just spurts of insanity—falling over and over again, thinking that won’t happen to me"

Agreed with KPPPP here. I'm 14 and have been drunk before. I had no problem seeing clearly and making decisions. I even helped make a bed for other people who passed out. It wasn't a problem for me. All being drunk was for me, was letting me relax and lossen up a bit. It didn't make me act stupid at all.

on Jan. 28 2012 at 10:11 pm
DifferentTeen PLATINUM, Seaford, Delaware
32 articles 2 photos 332 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There’s no such thing as true love, just spurts of insanity—falling over and over again, thinking that won’t happen to me"

I agree with Matador.

on Jan. 28 2012 at 10:08 pm
DifferentTeen PLATINUM, Seaford, Delaware
32 articles 2 photos 332 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There’s no such thing as true love, just spurts of insanity—falling over and over again, thinking that won’t happen to me"

For me, I've gorwn up around alcohol. Not as being an addicitve substance, but it was always there at parties and holidays. Sure, my borhters friends came over and got (really) drunk and would pass out. But that was a part of my childhood, and nothing out of the ordinary. I'm not saying kids should definately drink, but if they like the taste than I don't see it as a aproblem if its done every now and then. Now, if its being abused then something should be done. But I was raised for it to be treated as a privlidge, and you shouldn't abuse a privlidge. I'm a naturally and extremely shy person, and I hate it! Having a drink or two helps me to loosen up and not be so introverted. I don't necessarily like to get hammered, but I love having fun and having a crazy time. Also, I believe the drinking age should be lowered to 18. If you can go to war and kill others and be in that kind of danger, you should be able to legally drink alcohol. Thats just me.

hottyforever said...
on Jan. 23 2012 at 9:30 am
this site needs to get more articals on life

on Jan. 15 2012 at 8:56 pm
pinkpeteypye BRONZE, Manhasset, New York
3 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I understand what you mean about being up on a pedestal. Personally I am against drinking and drug usage but a lot of my friends do it, and when I ridicule them its because I'm worried about them. We're not trying to make anyone feel bad on purpose, we're just worried about our loved ones. What you said about us trying to understand the urges though... I completely understand. Sure, I've been tempted to drink. Nobody's tried to pressure me because of their views but of course I've been at parties where sometimes you don't have fun and everyone around you is drunk or high and having a ball. I've had thoughts about drinking, but I don't. Maybe I'm wise, or maybe I'm scared of what could happen. But what I don't understand is why people who do drugs feel like they have to to have fun.

Alice13 GOLD said...
on Jan. 8 2012 at 1:31 pm
Alice13 GOLD, Spanaway, Washington
11 articles 0 photos 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
As the eagle was killed by the arrow winged with his own feather, so the hand of the world is wounded by its own skill. -Helen Keller

Reading through the comments, I found that there was a lot of arguments about this topic being overused, and done a million times before. I come from a family who is prone to addictive drinking. Although most of my family members are sober now, all it took was to see the pain in my cousins' faces when they were taken away from my Aunt because of unsafe living environments when she was addicted. Even though my Aunt was an adult, her life still got very screwed up. She is sober now and has her kids back, but she can never take away that time period where she got out of control. Think about what this would be like for a TEEN to become addicted. Their life can become screwed up so quickly and easily, and almost as easily never put right. Overall, MY argument is that this topic can never be stressed enough, because it's the truth, but yet millions of teens still decide to cover their ears and ruin their lives. Nice article, straight to the point and well written. :)

on Jan. 8 2012 at 11:33 am
Though what you say isn't wrong, it isn't super helpful either. People have been saying the same thing to me (in school) about alcohol since seventh grade. The thing is, I was NOT pressured to pick up my first drink. Nor were any of my friends. Sure, the media plays its part, and I guess so do social circumstances, but overall I think we just wanted to have fun. Having fun sounds like such a stupid explanation, but it is very human to want a little escape. It's like when you watch crappy tv; you may know it's crappy, but it feels pretty darn good to not have to think for a couple of hours. I'm not excusing this behavior, nor do I think that alcohol abuse is ok, but people have got to stop looking at it from a pedestal. In order to have an impact, you have to try to understand the urges. Sorry I'm not trying to offend, I just needed to let that out.

Headphones said...
on Jan. 6 2012 at 11:54 pm
I am against drinking and doing drugs. I vowed not to do those things a long time ago because I have seen and heard of the effects of them. It may seem fun, but when you or someone you know is hurt becuase of it, the fun disappears. Drinking and doing drugs hinders a person's ability to make correst decisions because their brain cannot function properly while under the influence. I completely agree that teenagers should say no to drugs and alcohol. The consequences of such activity are not pleasant. Stricter laws should be passed to keep teens away from drugs and alcohol because they are irresponsible and do not fully comprehend the effects of drugs and alcohol. Besides, plenty of research has proven that drinking and doing drug just is not good for us.

on Jan. 6 2012 at 9:07 am
ecramer.2013 SILVER, Defiance, Ohio
5 articles 1 photo 1 comment
did you not just read those statistics?

on Nov. 23 2011 at 5:18 pm
OutOfTheDarkness, Columbus, Ohio
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"You want to be like me? Then be yourself, and make a difference."

I agree with Everyday

matador BRONZE said...
on Nov. 23 2011 at 10:32 am
matador BRONZE, Hereford, Texas
1 article 0 photos 16 comments
personaly, I see nothing wrong with drinking. it's fun. and some people are just too shy, so when they drink, they're more sociable. there is nothing wrong with being a little crazy every now and then. justa sayin'.

on Nov. 1 2011 at 3:54 pm
videotaped GOLD, Geneva, New York
19 articles 18 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Hope and Memory have one daughter and her name is Art, and she has built her dwelling far from the desperate field where men hang out their garments upon forked boughs to be banners of battle. O beloved daughter of Hope and Memory, be with me for a little."
- The Celtic Twilight, W. B. Yeats

It's not particularly snappy or well-written, but it's not necessarily bad. Degrassi does tend to show kids drinking, but it's certainly much more informative than shows like Gossip Girl are. Additionally, keep an eye out for your numbers - you say "twenty-four percent of 62 respondants" or some such - typically, nubers above 10 are spelled out, and never ever ever mix spelling and numerals (like twenty-four and 62) in the same sentence, because it's jarring. If you do have a conflice, and one is over / one is under 10, both become numerics.

on Nov. 1 2011 at 3:03 pm
ThePeaceDaisy BRONZE, Albany, New York
4 articles 5 photos 224 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.” - Unknown
I will change this every week!

I say that smoking/drugs are SUICIDE.

on Nov. 1 2011 at 3:00 pm
ThePeaceDaisy BRONZE, Albany, New York
4 articles 5 photos 224 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.” - Unknown
I will change this every week!

Of course there's nothing wrong with being curous. What she's saying is that if you drink too much, you're going to get killed or seriously injured. You can also do the same things to other people that are around. You just should do it legally, not underage. Great point though, but still, people do have to be careful.

on Nov. 1 2011 at 2:56 pm
ThePeaceDaisy BRONZE, Albany, New York
4 articles 5 photos 224 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.” - Unknown
I will change this every week!

Way to be rude. I thought it was great and I agree with the piece wholeheartedly. You can never, EVER tire out the problems of a situation like this.

on Nov. 1 2011 at 10:51 am
Sarahhhhhhh BRONZE, Malden, Massachusetts
4 articles 0 photos 28 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The silence depressed me. It wasn't the silence of silence. It was my own silence."
- Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Way to oversimplify a really complicated issue, hun. Just because we're teens doesn't mean we need to write like a 12-year-old. Elevate your thinking and consider other factors, maybe consult other sources. This would never cut it as actual journalism -- think of new things you can tell your audience about this (very done, very tired) subject!

on Oct. 10 2011 at 2:44 pm
KPetty13 BRONZE, Saint Cloud, Florida
4 articles 0 photos 22 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you're lucky enought to be different, never change." ~ Taylor Swift

Nice editorial(: I agree with you completlely.


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