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. Parents usually say “oh, my my kid would never do that “, and
they’re the ones whose kids probably drink more that the average teen.
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 they are being watched by security cameras.
No matter what city your 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 at Lincoln on this topic it can been seen
what teens think about teenage drinking. The results were shocking! The
first Question I 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 I 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 any one unless they are driving drunk.
Drinking is a crime and there are many penalties for the teen who 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 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 for up to two years with fines of up to $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. 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 Olympic size swimming pool.
As many as 360,000 of the nations twelve million teens in school, will
alcohol related accidents.
Beer manufacturers spend an estimated $15-20 million a year to
The number of girls who drink to get drunk has nearly tripled in the past
75% of male students and 55% of female students involved in sexual
assault or rape
were using alcohol or drugs at the time.
Almost 14% of college students drink alcohol daily.
The younger one starts drinking alcohol, the more chance they have of
becoming an alcoholic.
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 at Florida State
University on the topic of binge drinking. The reply I got was that binge
drinking was the most popular way to initiate students into clubs or organized
groups. One of the questions I asked him was, Do 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 health problems.
A study released by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse says the
younger a person starts drinking , the more likely they will develop serious
drinking problems for the rest of their life. Officials from the National
Institute on Alcohol Abuse say that teenage drinking leads to other problems.
What people do not know is that kids start drinking at very young ages
as low as ten or eleven. If they start drinking alcohol before the age of
fifteen they are four times more likely to develop alcoholism, than the people
who don’t drink until they are twenty-one. Many teens who start off drinking
before the age of seventeen will end up to be alcoholics by the time they
graduate from college , if they make it that far.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. It affects every organ
in the body and long term use can lead to many preventable diseases.
According to the 1994 Monitoring the Future survey, alcohol remains the
number one substance used by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. 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
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”. 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 their 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
It is important for parents to be aware of what their children are doing and
who their friends are. Teenagers need to continue to be educated on the
effects of alcohol and the dangerous situations it causes.
#1. 1994 Monitoring the Future survey
#2. Class notes
#1. 1994 Monitoring the Future survey
#2. Class notes