Teen Drinking

October 30, 2013
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Teen drinking has increased in recent years. In 2003 a survey proved 42% of teens aged 16 to 17 report using alcohol, and 22% of teens aged 13 to 15. By 2011, 27% of 8th graders, 50% of 10th graders, and 64% of 12th graders drank. Obviously the oldest teens are the ones who drink the most, but no age under 21 is appropriate. No matter how old you are, having a drink is a big risk to take.

Each year, approximately 5,000 young people die as a result of underage drinking. 16,000 deaths are due to homicide, 300 from suicide, as well as many other fatal incidents. There are many deadly health risks from underage drinking as well. Possible outcomes are brain effects, liver effects, growth and endocrine effects. This may lead to physiological reactions, such as depression or anxiety disorders, triggering even greater alcohol use or dependence.

A large amount of car accidents are due to drinking while driving. Each year, 1,900 deaths are from vehicles crashes because of drunk drivers. By the age of 18, more than 70% of teens have drank. Many teens don’t think twice about getting into a car when they are drunk or are with drunken people. Today all states have set the minimum legal drinking age to 21. Increasing the age at which people can legally purchase and drink alcohol has been the most successful intervention to date in reducing alcohol-related crashes among people under age 21.

Underage drinking among teens has become a serious problem. What many teens don’t realize is how many incidents are caused by drinking under the age of twenty-one. Many things can put teens at risk when they drink; such as pregnancy,car accidents, DUI, health problems, alcohol poisoning, and the like.

Some teens turn to alcohol as a stress reliever. Millions of teenagers have to deal with single-parent families, poverty, child abuse, and other family or home issues that make them want alcohol. Most teenagers know where to find alcohol that they can have access to. Some drink, for the most part, at parties, others drink by themselves or with friends when their parents aren’t home. In many situations, friends will plan together where to meet up to drink.

Heredity factors also play a large role in teen drinking. Such factors, like tolerance to alcohol or being a child of alcoholics influence the ratio at which a teen will drink or not. Children of alcoholics are likely to become alcoholics themselves more than children of a nonalcoholic. Friends of a teen who drink or encourage underage drinking are not people to be friends with. Parents should do a background check on their child’s friends if they are concerned with the safety of their teen.

There are many situations parents can look for if they concerned that their child is drinking. Personality changes such as being disruptive, hyperactive, aggressive, antisocial, depressed, withdrawn, or anxious are common signals. Alcohol can cause rebellion, difficulty avoiding harmful situations, no regard to rules or emotions/feelings of others. Teens who drink tend to have problems at school, slurred speech, coordination problems, and less interest in activities and appearance.

Peer pressure is a large part of teen drinking. If you live in a community where drinking is strongly frowned upon, you are less likely to be pressured into drinking under the age of 21. No matter where it occurs, teens are inevitably going to witness it. However, people’s decisions are strongly influenced by who they spend their time with. If you are around people who drink, it is hard to stay away from situations that involve alcohol.

One thing that lowers the risk of teenagers drinking alcohol is by staying busy. Most teens who are academically and athletically involved are less likely to drink. This is because they are more focused on their future. There are many ways such teens avoid situations with alcohol. Good examples are not being a big partier, being mindful of the consequences, staying in the right crowd, and having strict occupations.

All teenagers should have the ability to talk to an adult about alcohol. There are many things adults can say to make the teen not want to drink. Alcohol is harmful to the brain and body, driver fatalities from automobile accidents of a drunk driver, interference with good judgment, risk of other drugs that are not safe, behavioral problems, and the fact that underage it is illegal, are things that will hopefully turn your teens away from drinking.

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