Think Before You Drink

July 16, 2013
“You’ve never tried an alcoholic beverage before?” they ask with incredulous looks. The uncomfortable high-schooler begins to blush and mumble a timid “no”, clearly embarrassed in the face of his peers. Unfortunately, too many teenagers today can relate to this type of situation.

According to a Monitoring the Future survey funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 70% of high school seniors in 2011 admitted to having tried alcohol before. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that “alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States.”

Although some teenagers may not explicitly have the intention to drink alcohol in certain situations, a mix of peer pressure and the wrong atmosphere can quickly lead them to try it. Not surprisingly, this is how it often starts, as just a bit to drink here and there, but before long, individuals have fallen victim to alcohol’s incredibly addictive nature and could find themselves in too deep.

It’s alarming to think that so many teenagers today are putting themselves up for the risks that alcohol presents. Many think that it makes no difference to try it, that they are strong enough to handle its effects. But try as they might, it’s impossible to dismiss for long the dangerous ramifications that alcohol has on a growing person’s body.

Simply put, alcohol, a depressant, tampers with the functions of nearly every chemical receptor in the brain and decreases the activity of the central nervous system. In addition, alcohol can disturb blood glucose levels as well as reduce production of the anti-diuretic hormone, thereby causing dehydration. Not to mention, alcohol wreaks havoc on the liver over time and can be a contributing factor to liver disease.

These effects, and myriad more, truly suggest the need for teenagers to stop and think whenever they find themselves pressured to drink. Right now is the time to be nourishing our bodies and building them up, not destroying them with alcohol. Drinking underage may seem cool in the midst of a Friday night party, but is it really worth all the consequences? Think about this the next time you feel pressured to compromise your health for foolish temptations of the moment.

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