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Teenage Drinking Essay, Research Paper

Teenage drinking is something that goes on every day. No matter how many videos you show to kids about drinking they will still drink. Surveys show that the average teen

seventeen and up spends $475.00 a year on liquor, mostly beer. [That's more than books,

soda, coffee, juice and milk combined]. Most parents don’t know about teenage drinking

unless they catch their kids doing it. Some parents say, “their kids would never do

that “, and they’re the ones whose kids probably drink more than the average teen.

(MADD, 00)

One might ask, how do kids get alcohol? Alcohol is almost as easy to get as a carton

of milk, except a teen has to get someone older like a friend, brother or even someone

off of the street to purchase it. Another way underage teens get alcohol is a fake I.D. A lot of stores don’t care; they just need to ask for an I.D. because Security cameras are watching them. No matter what city you are in, one in every five stores will sell beer to a minor. If stores stop selling to minors they would lose a lot of business.

Looking at the surveys I took off the Internet on this topic, it can be seen what teens think about teenage drinking. The results were shocking! The first question asked was, “Have you ever drank alcohol?” Of the students surveyed, 16% said no and 84% said yes. The second question was, “How often do you drink?” The results were on the average three to four drinks a week. The third question was, “How much do you usually drink?” The average number of beers was eight and the average number of shots was seven. The fourth question was, “Have you ever drank alcohol before driving and 68% said yes! One of the last questions it asked was, “What would you do if you killed someone drinking and driving?” The majority replied that they could not live with themselves. Just through talking to people and going to parties, I have seen most people drink to get drunk, not many people drink just a drink or two. Many students don’t feel that drinking is a crime because they are not hurting anyone unless they are driving drunk.

Drinking is a crime and there are many penalties for the teen that chooses to break

the law. For a first time offender a teen would be taken to jail, finger printed, and

photographed. At the time of arrest, if drunk, one could be taken to detoxification (detox) for up to seventy-two hours. Detox is a place where the offender would go to sober up because the authorities feel a person may cause harm to themselves or others. The second time a teen gets caught he or she could be charged with fines of up to $500.00. After the Third offense the fines only get more expensive. If any of these charges involve driving, the penalties can get much worse. If one is get caught drinking underage plus driving a vehicle all driving privileges could be taken away. In some places the length of driving restrictions range up to 2 years and $1000.00. Many people don’t take these laws seriously. They are much worse when they happen in real life. Parents, teachers and friends can tell teenagers the consequences of drinking and driving, but often they don’t think it will happen to them until they are caught and inconvenienced by their mistakes.

There are many people who drink underage. They are mostly teens that are high

School and college students. The following statistics are unbelievable:

* College students drink an estimated four billion cans of beer a year.

* The total amount of alcohol consumed by teen college students is 430 million

gallons. This is enough for every college and university in the United States to fill

an Olmpic size swimming pool.

* As many as 360,000 of the nations twelve million teens in school, will die from

alcohol related accidents.

* Beer manufacturers spend an estimated $15-20 million a year to promote products

to teens.

* The number of girls who drink to get drunk has nearly tripled in the past ten years.

*75% of male students and 55% of female students involved in sexual assault or

rape were using alcohol at the time

*Almost 14% of college students drink alcohol daily.

(SADD, 99)

These statistics are so outrageous to many people, but they are true. There are many reasons for these incredibly high statistics, but one of the most frightening reasons is a new fad that college students, especially, are taking part in, and that is “Binge drinking”. Binge drinking is one of the most common ways teens consume alcohol. Binge drinking is having at least five drinks at one sitting. It’s a way to get drunk very fast. I interviewed a college student from Oregon State University on the topic of binge drinking. The reply I got was that this type of drinking was the most popular way to initiate students into clubs or organized groups. One of the questions I asked him was if students have to do this to get into the club or group? He replied “no, but you are looked at like a baby who can’t drink, every body will make fun of you, and you can’t let yourself get a bad reputation at the beginning of college or it will be a long four years. Binge drinking has many dangerous side effects. Several short-term effects are vomiting, dizziness, and impaired thinking. Long-term effects can be much worse and include things such as poor grades, DUI’s, sexual assaults, fighting, and later on long-term health problems can occur.

The continuing problem of underage drinking has led the government to think of instating a new program that would bring the legal age of drinking down to 18. By age 18 teens are labeled adults and therefore they should be responsible for their own actions. It is in the opinion of many people that if teens had to learn at a younger age to control such habits maybe “binge drinking” would not be as influential as it is in colleges today. Kids are to, worried about being labeled “wimps” that they will do anything to appease their counterparts. This leads to serious implications.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. It affects every organ in the

body and long-term use can lead to many preventable diseases such as. According to the 1994

Monitoring the Future Survey, alcohol remains the number one substance used by middle school all the way up to high school students. Over 50 percent of 12th graders report drinking alcohol within the past month. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment which can lead to risky

behaviors, including practicing unprotected sex. This can lead to acquiring HIV/AIDS as

well as other sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancy. In 1993, 40 percent

of the 5,905 traffic fatalities of 15- to 20-year olds were alcohol related. . (MADD, 97)

It is difficult for a teenager to ask for help or even know that they need help.

Sometimes the teen and parents finally end their denial when the teen “bottoms out”. Or gets so abuse it drives away friends and family. This usually means that the teen gets into trouble with law enforcement or becomes depressed over their current behavior. It usually takes “bottoming out” for a teen to finally seek help. Adolescents have a difficult time breaking these habits because to avoid drinking they must also avoid friends.

once a teen asks for help then a professional needs to determine whether the teen is an

abuser or an alcoholic. Alcoholism is defined as: a chronic, progressive disease that

causes a person to lose control over his or her drinking. The alcoholic can’t control how

much alcohol he or she drinks even though they know how bad the affects are. If

drinking interferes with social, emotional and physical parts of a teen’s life they are probably suffering from alcohol abuse. But if drinking becomes addictive it’s alcoholism. I interviewed a sixteen-year-old friend who is an alcoholic. I asked him about his life

and why he drank. He explained that he drank to get rid of his problems. His mother is a recovering alcoholic so he was familiar with what happened when he would lose control when he drank. His mother was very aware of the signs. His grades went down, he started skipping classes, he lied to his mother, he was hanging out with friends who drank a lot and were always in trouble. Fortunately, he was given a second chance and he is in a program that is helping him recover.

Teen drinking and alcoholism can be treated if treatment is started early. There is no

known cure for alcoholism, but alcoholics can lead productive lives with help. There are

many organizations that can help alcoholics such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and

Rational Recovery Systems. There are also organizations that promote abstinence from

Drinking such as S.A.D.D. (Students Against Drunk Driving) and M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).

It is important that teens are aware of everything that drinking involves and is lasting repercussions. If they learned early on about the dangers then they could become responsible adults when drinking alcohol.



1) J. miner. (1984) Alcohol and teens.

New York: Julian Messner

2) B. Wertain. (1997) Alcoholism and our teens.

New York: Julian Messner

3) http://www.madd.com


5) http://www.netmediapro.com/add

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