Alcohol And Teenagers Essay, Research Paper
A fourteen-year-old girl is invited to a party. She is completely aware that there is going to be alcohol, and even though she knows that she shouldn t go she still wants to go. So she decides to forget what she knows about drinking. She decides to forget the danger and responsibilities that alcohol implicates. She decides to forget because her friends say it will be fun. So she asks permission knowing her parents will say yes. As she walks into the party surrounded by her friends she notices a bunch of people she doesn t know. Some seem very happy, some are hyperactive, and others are talking gibberish that nobody appeared to understand. She looked past all these people and spotted a guy stumbling down the stairs, when he finally reached the bottom he looked around he gave her the impression of not knowing anyone and being lost. Although she has witnessed these diverse scenes she still thinks everyone is having fun. In a matter of seconds, though, before she knew what was going on, all of her friends were drinking from their respective glasses. One of her friends hands her a glass, she takes it, a little stunned still, because everything has moved so fast for her. She stares at the glass and then looks up and her eyes meet the eyes of everyone else she had come in with. They were all staring, expecting her to take a drink from the glass in her hand, the glass full of beer. In that split second everything flashes through her mind, all those commercials she had seen about not drinking, all those lectures the school had made her and her classmates attend. She thought of her parents and all the conversations they had had about alcohol, but it all comes down to her friends. Those friends who right that instant were looking at her expectantly, waiting to see exactly what she would do. They expected her to drink. All of them are drinking, so why should she be the one not to do it. So she forgets about everything again. She takes a sip and even though she doesn t like the taste, she keeps on drinking it.
Believe it or not, this is one of the most common situations in the world. The pressure of being a teenager in this day and age is extremely high. Parents have no idea what their children have to go through now. The feeling of acceptance and belonging is an enormous part of a teenager s life. So they decide and tell themselves that if they want to fit in they have to do basically what the others are doing. So, logically, if the teenager starts hanging out with a group of guys and girls that drink, it is most likely that the teenager will start drinking too. It is much easier for them to start drinking when all of their friends are doing it. Most teenagers know the basics about the risks and consequences that come with drinking alcoholic beverages but the fact that they don t want to be the only ones not drinking, then encourages them to do it. Most teenagers get carried away by the crowd. They follow and do what they all do in hope of being accepted. They convince themselves that if they do it then its okay for them to do it. When a teenager is associated with a crowd that consumes alcoholic beverages, a lot of pressure is exerted on that person. Whether it is intentional or not, peer pressure is the main reason why teenagers start to drink. (Bibliography 2) Most teenagers don t seem to care much about the consequences, about the facts, whether they already know them or not. They just want to fulfill their need, to be just like everyone else, unnoticed, the person they don t pick on. They just want to be comfortable, they don t want to be scared, so they do what they think is necessary to keep themselves safe, even if they don t completely agree with what they are doing.
Almost + of all High School students state that they drank before they reached the age of thirteen. (Bibliography 16) This might have to do with the fact that even though alcohol is illegal to buy and possess under the age of 21, in the majority of places, teenagers have easy access to it. At least 8 million teenagers use alcohol every week and almost + a million go on weekly binges. It was revealed by a report that the majority of teenagers are able to purchase their own alcoholic beverages without proper identification. (Bibliography 12) There are thousands of ways teenagers are able to get alcohol. Friends or relatives of legal age provide the teenagers alcohol. The truth is if event if they can t get family to do it, they just ask a costumer to provide his services. So they use him to get the alcohol. Many times teenager recur to stealing to obtain the alcohol they want. They steal from their homes and from their neighbors homes, just as easy as going to the liquor store and buying it themselves. The law stipulates that minors are not to buy any type of alcoholic beverages but the truth is that that law is not enforced. Teenagers are able to get alcohol whenever and wherever the want. It doesn t really matter if they are thirteen years old, or twenty-one years old, just as long as they pay for the product nobody cares. There is no need to go all the way to talk about the law. Some parents provide their sons and daughters the alcohol in hope that they will drink it at home and not someplace else that would be dangerous. Even if teenagers get the alcohol through their parents, through their friends, through strangers or by themselves, it doesn t really matter because they still get it. One way or another, no matter how old they are or what the law says, because the law doesn t stop teenagers from wanting to drink.
According to resent information alcohol advertising uses sex, fantasy, exotic locations, and sports to sell alcohol. This encourages them to buy alcoholic beverages. This type of advertising ties the consumption with the outdoor and sports activities such a mountain climbing, surfing, skiing, etc. In reality alcohol and these types of sports form a dangerous combination, such that could be proven to be deadly. (Bibliography 16) Alcohol advertising never communicates the true consequences of drinking or its health risks. Ironically and irresponsibly, advertising images and slogans reinforce the use of alcohol in potentially high risk situations. Dr. Novello, Inspector of the Department of Health and Human Services. Another strategy for advertising alcoholic beverages is that they display wine coolers in stores, next to the fruit drinks. It might not seem like a big deal but these subtle details are the ones that fool the teenagers minds. Different brands of beer and other alcoholic beverages appear in movies and television shows hoping that teenagers will drink them because their favorite actor or actress was drinking them. The models in commercials that advertise beers are thin, young and beautiful, they are used to lure teenagers into the assumption that that is what life is like if you drink the beer. This leads them to believe that alcohol is somehow good for them. When it actually contains lots of calories and has no nutritional value. Nevertheless the advertising agencies feature celebrities and sport stars regardless of the fact that alcohol won t make you famous or more athletic. Actually 56% of students from grades five-twelve say that advertising of this sort definitely encourages them to drink. (Bibliography 13) It seems the extraordinary amounts of money used to advertise these beverages has been really paying off, because it has been effective in luring teenagers into buying and consuming alcoholic beverages. In fact, no matter what the government tries to do, or parents want to do, they can t help it if teenagers want to drink. It is just more accessible when nobody enforces the law. It is wrong to say, though, that it is all the advertising companies fault because there are many reasons that make a teenager drink.
Boredom is a very common excuse for drinking. According to teenagers they have nothing better to do, their idea of fun is having drinks. They use alcohol to relieve their boredom. (Bibliography 2) Alcohol relaxes some teenagers, or so they claim. Alcohol helps teenagers calm down and relieve tension, unwind. Some teenagers use alcohol as their escape from their problems and frustrations. Everyone has their own problems, is just that everyone copes with them differently, so some turn to alcohol. They just feel the need to escape reality through alcohol. Teenagers have always been rebellious; they like to defy the authorities, whether it is their parents or the police. Alcohol is something forbidden, against the law, so a teenager sees drinking as a rebellious act. Something that is very appealing to teenagers who don t really go with the flow. It doesn t make that much sense because everyone does it but that is how they perceive it. 39% teens drink alone, 58% teens drink when upset, 30% teens drink when bored, and 37% drink to get high. (Bibliography 10) There is no particular reason for why teenagers drink or why even adults drink. The truth is that many factors contribute to the fact that no matter what it is, it is making teenagers want to drink more, and because they drink more, the consequences are much larger and much more serious.
My roommate and I went to a party, and she got drunk. She hooked up with this guy from the fraternity and had sex with him that night. I couldn t have stopped her because she would have gotten very mad. The next day we found out that the guy was seeing someone else and was known all around campus for taking advantage of girls when they drank. Anonymous (Bibliography 14) These events are very common. The truth is that alcohol increases risk of injury, car crashes, falls, burns, drowning, suicides, murders, rapes, and most of all death. (Bibliography 10) It is quite unbelievable how much harm a couple of drinks can cause both to the people around the person and the person itself. Alcohol goes directly into the body, which is why it affects the entire system. Short-term effects would include double eyesight, judgement, emotions, slurred speech, lost sense of direction, slows reflexes, dulls senses, and impairs use of limbs. (Bibliography 13) Long-term effects are loss of appetite, high blood pressure, cancer of the mouth, pancreas and other organs, vitamin deficiencies, stomach ailments, sexual impotence, kidney damage, liver damage, central nervous system damage and memory loss. (Bibliography 10) Alcohol causes the most damage when it is abused. Usually when teenagers don t abuse alcohol, nothing really happens. The real serious stuff starts when the person becomes an alcoholic. When we think of an alcoholic we think of a bum, an old man, homeless, etc. That is definitively the wrong idea. Anyone could be an alcoholic, your classmate, brother, sister, girlfriend, just about everyone who could have access to alcohol. Drinking compulsively is a disease that could affect anyone. The truth is that not everyone that drinks has a drinking problem, but there are some signs that you should watch out for: lose interest in food, drink to calm nerves, forget worries, or reduce depression, gulps drinks down fast, lie or try to hide drinking habits, drink alone often, were drunk more than three times the past year, needs alcohol to get high, feel irritable, resentful, or unreasonable when not drinking, and have social, financial, or medical problems caused by drinking. (Bibliography 9) It is pretty hard to believe that a teenager could develop this problem but it certainly has happened. The person drinks in a group, with a friend, alone, drinks regardless of the time of day or night. These teenagers have lots of trouble coping with diverse situations in their lives. They started out like everybody else, a couple of beers, a few shots of something else, and before this person knew it grades are extremely low, she/he is going out every night, alone. Before anyone could notice, this person became dependant to alcohol. This is such a strong disease, very hard to battle. To an alcoholic drinking was the highlight of the day. This causes stuff that were once important seem insignificant to them. Drinking to them became not just a social activity but also a necessity. They develop high tolerance to alcohol, which causes the amount of alcohol consumed to rise. So every time the teenager drinks it becomes harder and harder for this person to achieve drunk ness. These things are major signs of alcoholism, but there are many more factors that can lead a teenager into alcoholism. There are patterns that lead us to think that there are other factors that are involved in this.
There are a lot of similarities between the teenagers that possibly develop a drinking problem. First of all they tried alcohol for the first time at a very young age. Young minds and bodies that have not developed entirely are more likely to make a habit out of something, alcohol, that the have been consuming between the ages of ten-fourteen years old. In fact a person who has not yet started drinking by the age of 21 years old, Is likely to never drink. (Bibliography 3) These teenagers have a poor relationship with their parents, which means they don t communicate. The parents haven t given the teenager the proper education regarding stuff like alcohol and drugs. That disorients the teenager. Also, no relationship with parents adds up to the teenage problems. (Bibliography 11) They are strongly influenced by a crowd that drinks. Whether the parents were heavy drinkers or not is very important. Most daughter s and son s replicate their parents behavior, so if any of them or both drink, unconsciously teenagers copy their behavior. There is a large possibility that kids of alcoholics will probably become alcoholics too. This behavior basically reflects on the behavior of the parent, if they drink, if they communicate, if they educate their children. (Bibliography 1) In the end many factors contribute to alcoholism in teenagers. They live in a place with bad influences, they have trouble with the parents, they hang out with the wrong crowd, they simply like drinking, they use alcohol to drown sorrow, frustrations, problems, and most just drink, not knowing exactly why. To drink alcohol is quite dangerous, it is an addictive drug, that if consumed, it should be done with moderation. It becomes dangerous and harmful to the person. Drinking causes a lot of damage, it destroys families, it could cause bankruptcy, and alcohol causes accidents of all sorts. Instead of the person consuming the alcohol, it consumes the person, causing the person to loose all of what they ve got. Whatever the problem was in the first place wouldn t compare to the one that was caused trying to forget the first one. Instead of making everything better they make everything worst for everyone, because their life is connected to the life of others.
During the past few years accidents have been increasing nonstop. Drunk driving is the leading cause of death among teenagers. 21% of the young drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. These young drivers make up 6.7% of the total driving population but constitute 13% of the alcohol-involved drivers in fatal crashes. The amount of alcohol related accidents are terrifying. It is amazing how alcohol can take so many lives. More than 35% of all sixteen-twenty year old deaths result from motor vehicle crashes, 37% were in alcohol related crashes. Estimates 2,104 people between sixteen-twenty died in alcohol related crashes. During a typical weekend, an average of one teenager dies each hour in a car crash, more than 50% of those crashes involved alcohol. The amount of teenagers that die because of alcohol is unbelievable. $5.5 billion spent in alcohol per year. (Bibliography 20) So it is a fact that alcohol not only harms the person who drinks it but also any other person who happens to be there. 70% men and 55% women reported to be intoxicated three or four times last month. Many crimes are committed while the under the influence of alcohol, many people die because of it, but it is so common that nobody sees it that way anymore. Nobody sees the consequences anymore; everyone drinks regardless of everything that could happen. Nobody really cares anymore, just as long as it is not them, or anyone they know, then its okay. That s how self absorbed everyone is now. Nobody wants to know that eight young people a day die o alcohol related crashes or that in a weekend an average teenager dies each hour of an alcohol related accident. Just as long as it is not anyone close then people overlook all the stuff that goes on around them. They stop noticing stuff because it doesn t seem important anymore, but it is, and everyone should care. People only care about themselves, but not so much either because if they did they wouldn t get as drunk as most of them do. 35% of young women reported that they drank specifically to get drunk. (Bibliography 20) It is hard to believe that now the purpose of going to a party isn t to hang out and dance with your friends, now the purpose of a party is to get drunk. Most teenagers know a little about drinking, the basics about the consequences and everything else, but when it comes down to it, they don t have their facts straight.
Most young people know things about drinking but it is mostly all myths. Mostly stuff that a friend told a friend and so on, and by the time it got to them it is something totally different. So people should know the law so that they know exactly where they stand when/if something happens, in all fifty states of the United States the legal age for possessing and buying alcohol is twenty-one. It varies from country to country so you need to clear that up. A twelve ounce beer has as much alcohol as a one point five ounce shot of whisky or a five ounce glass of wine. So just because one of them is hard liquor, and the other wine or beer it doesn t mean it contains less alcohol than the next. Wine coolers have enough alcohol in them to consider getting your license revoked. Be totally aware of the risks, alcohol increases your chances of being in a serious if not fatal accident. Alcohol can also ruin your looks and image, it gives you bad breath, makes you gain weight, and if under the influence, there is a possibility of making a fool out of yourself. Always be aware of what is real and what is not. Always be careful of whom you are with and where you are going. There are hundreds of women who were victim of rape while under the influence of alcohol. (Bibliography 10) In real life every one has to try not to overlook the dangers that everyone faces, and although we know, we all add a lot more by consuming alcohol.
In the end it all boils down to a simple thing, we all make the choice. We choose whether to drink or not to drink. If we choose to drink, make another choice. We choose how much to drink and so on. So life has always been about choice, for everyone. Being a teenager is hard enough with school and family and everything else. We also have to deal with the fact that there are many things out there that can either harm us or help us or neither, depending on what it is. Alcohol consumption is such a complicated subject, after all everyone has an opinion about it. Nevertheless everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. Some people say that alcohol is wrong no in-betweens, its plain wrong, and nobody should do it because it causes nothing but trouble. Other people say that it isn t the fact that there is alcohol but the fact that people abuse it and misuse it. That it is every person s responsibility to know and do what he or she thinks they should. Some other people think that there is nothing wrong with it and that everything is fine the way it is. Teenagers have to understand, that whatever they do will have consequences, they could be good or they could be bad but nonetheless consequences. These consequences haunt each person for the rest of their lives. Reminding them of what they have done. A lot of teenagers learned this the hard way, by seeing someone dying or actually killing somebody. It sounds very far away but it really isn t because one sip of tequila or beer or any alcoholic beverage could numb your senses long enough for a tragedy to happen. Most teenagers just want to have fun they know what they are doing and they know when to stop, but others don t even know what they do or when they do it, these are the ones to be afraid of. Teenagers have grown up seeing everyone with a can of beer so it s as normal as Coke and Pepsi for most, but they have to comprehend that not everything is what it seems. What is the fun of going to a party and then you can t remember anything the next day only the obvious, that you got so drunk that you can t remember anything. Teenagers should learn that there are limits and that those limits don t mean that you become a less fun person. These limits mean that you are smart enough to figure out that being drunk isn t fun, that not being able to talk or walk is fun, that wondering what you did last night isn t fun, and that making a fool out of yourself is definitively not fun. Everyone has to grow up and realize that life is what you make of it, and if you want to spend it wondering what you did or where you where then that s okay, but that in the end each person chooses. Some people didn t get the chance to make the choice, they are dead know, killed by drunk drivers, or were driving drunk, or were just sitting in the passenger seat. Others have to live with the choice they made. Its illogical once knowing everything that most teenagers know about all those accidents and all those dead people younger than some, a little older than others but still in the same age group. They still don t open their eyes. For some people its too late, the alcoholics who started drinking when they were ten or so, they have no strength to stop, they are doomed to live with the choice they made and even if we all tried to help, its all up to them.
Teenagers start drinking at an early age, because our society has let us. Then we continue to do it because somehow they let us. As teenagers grow up, even if they started in the same place, they end up in different paths, in those paths they walk alone. Some travel the safe road, the one where they choose not to drink. Some travel the moderate road in which they choose to drink but know until what extent to do it. Others choose the dangerous road where they choose to live a life full of blackouts caused by too much alcohol in their blood stream, a life full of dangerous turns that somehow always end in tragedy. In the end no matter which road we take as an individual, there will always be other people who have chosen the dangerous path, which inevitably makes our path dangerous too. We have to ensure that the factors that lead to drinking be decreased. We have to make sure that the situations that lead a teenager into alcohol be made better. This starts with a choice: to let die, or help live. All there is to do is to try to inform the youth of today so that they will inform the youth of tomorrow, and hopefully that way we can all be much safer than before.