Teens everywhere think about drinking, but they usually don’t think about the consequences. In fact, one out of 10 children ages 12 and 13 uses alcohol at least once a month. In a single year, 522 children under age 14 were arrested for driving while intoxicated, (113 of them were under 10 years old). 70 percent of all teenagers drink alcohol. 60 percent of all teen deaths in car accidents are alcohol-related. To most people, these numbers are just statistics. And most teens never think of themselves as a statistic. It’s easier to picture other people as one, so what would happen if your best-friend tried drinking for the first time, and decided to drive home because she thought she was sober “enough”?
You probably wouldn’t see her much, because her chance of making it home safe are smaller than her chances of getting arrested for a DUI, her parents finding her in a hang-over, or her getting in an accident and killing herself. Or, imagine your little sibling is being taken home by his or her friend’s mom after a fun play-date, and there is a raging party right down the street. Bam. Your little sister or brother just became one of the 16,000 people a year that die from a drunk-driving incident. It’s not just a statistic anymore, it’s personal. These are the kind of questions that teens should be asked, to get them thinking about the repercussions about drinking then driving.
First of all, a teenager, shouldn’t be anywhere near alcohol; especially if they’re a driver. After reading the first paragraph most teens would think, “I’m only a teenager. What am I supposed to do to?” Teens are supposed to make sure that they are not the one who is putting others in danger, it’s the only thing they alone can surely, and effectively do. And what does that mean? It means no drinking at all, not even a beer. It’s just not worth it! Going to parties isn’t bad. There are teenagers out there that go to parties, and don’t drink, and have a great time!
Teenagers afraid of being judged need to hang out with those kinds of people, and they won’t feel the need, or pressure to drink. Of course, a party without alcohol is the safest party, even if they themselves know they’re not drinking. If others are, the sober one is still in danger. There needs to be more teens that would be the one in their group of friends to say, “Hey, that party just looks like bad news, lets go to the movies instead!” They might get shot down, and they might not be as “cool” anymore, but it’s much better than their mother having to look at an empty bed everyday after their bad accident coming home from the party. Teens need to put their life in perspective, and set their priorities straight.
Too many lives have been lost due to alcohol. Schools need to address the problem more forcefully and frequently. Frankly, I don’t believe that one week a year is enough to teach kids about the dangers of drinking underage, and driving under the influence. The problem is partially due to the fact that in almost every school, elementary through high school, that on week is the same week, every year! Red Ribbon week is great, however there needs to be more. The school board is worrying too much about the money and not enough about the children’s well-fare.
If a little extra money gets put towards a campaign to stop teen drinking, instead of that money going to re-paint the railings in the whole school, then that would make a massive difference. Little things can make a big difference if adults get involved and look at what really matters. Teens don’t want to listen, so it seems nearly futile to lecture them, especially when they are being told what is and isn’t good for them. That’s why more drastic measures need to take place more often, as a wake up call. Visuals, real-life stories, and fundraisers need to be utilized in order to save lives.
As a final point, there is not enough being done to make those percentages go down. Every life is precious, and valuable, therefore we should do everything we can to make sure it is sustained. Those statistics can only rise if nothing is done, so it is critical that action takes place now.
Effects of Teenage Drinking
The effects of teenage drinking can be quite serious. Fortunately, teenage alcohol use is on the decline. Still, it is a problem of note, with three out of four high school students reporting that they have consumed an alcoholic beverage prior to graduating high school.
The most serious effects of teens drinking is that it leads to adult dependence. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop an alcohol addiction than those who do not begin drinking before the legal age of 21.
Drinking and driving is another danger of teenage alcohol use. Forty percent of all alcohol-related fatal car crashes involve teens. Teens may not realize they are too impaired to drive, or they may be afraid to call home for a ride. Regardless of the reason, teens that drink often drive while under the influence.
Other effects of teenage drinking include decreased inhibitions that may lead to risk-taking behaviors. Alcohol intoxication impairs the judgment and teens who are intoxicated may engage in a number of dangerous behaviors.
Alcohol may also serve as a “gateway drug” into more serious drug use. Once teens have decided alcohol use is acceptable, they may feel other drugs are also okay. Impaired judgment may also lead to the experimentation with other drugs.
Teen alcohol use nearly always causes poor performance in school, if the teen is using on any kind of a regular basis. Teens who use alcohol have trouble concentrating in class and on assignments. They also have difficulty with peer relationships and with relationships with teachers and other authority figures.
Teen alcohol use also causes family problems. Teens who use alcohol may withdraw from the family and have difficulty with family relationships. They may demonstrate behavioral problems as well.
There are also health risks involved with alcohol use. People today are well aware of the health problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption. Health problems can include stomach ulcers, liver problems, heart problems, and malnutrition. These problems generally occur in people who have been drinking over a longer period of time and are not always seen in teens, but can result as they grow older if they continue to drink.
Finally, teens who use alcohol may have legal problems due to their behavior. Underage drinking is illegal, and teens who drink may engage in other illegal behaviors as well.
The effects of teenage drinking is a problem that worries parents, educators, and policy makers alike. It is a far-reaching problem and affects us all directly and/or indirectly.
Preventing Teenage Alcohol Use
Fortunately, there are things that can be done to decrease teenage alcohol use. By simply talking to their teenagers about the use of alcohol and the effects of teenage drinking, parents can reduce the risk of their children drinking. Studies show that teens whose parents talk to them about alcohol and drugs are 42% less likely to use those substances than teens whose parents don’t discuss the issue with them.
Parents can also help by setting good examples for their teens. If they drink, parents should do so responsibly, and never drive while under the influence.
Most schools also provide educational programs designed to educate students about the dangers of underage drinking. Some of these programs are more effective than others. One popular program, DARE, involves local police officers coming into the schools to talk to students about drugs and alcohol. Its effectiveness has been called into question, but it is still one of the most widely used programs today.
Please feel free to write to us if you would like more information about how to prevent teenage alcohol use.
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Teenage Drinking Statistics - Facts and information about teenage alcohol abuse. What can be done to prevent teenage alcoholism. List of the most current and important underage drinking statistics.
Teenage Alcohol Drinking - Information about teens and alcohol, and the underage drinking laws. These laws do help to keep some teens that drink off the roads, but proper education about the dangers of drunk driving is very important.
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