Alcohol and Teens

When it comes to alcohol and teens, recent studies reveal that alcohol is the number one most frequently abused drug by teens in the United States. Despite the legal drinking age in America being 21, there is still a strong tie between alcohol and teens.

The number of teens who have tried alcohol is reaching nearly 80 percent throughout the United States. The age of teens engaging in underage drinking behaviors is also lowering with about half of junior high school studends who drink alcohol on a montly basis. Nearly eight percent of all teens who have admitted to drinking alcohol say they do with at least five or more alcoholic drinks in a row. This type of drinking behavior is called binge drinking and is becoming more and more popular among teen drinkers despite the dangerous, and often deadly, risks associated wtih binge drinking.

Dangerous effects of the use of alcohol and teens:

  • Alcohol decreases the user's ability to pay attention and causes a delayed reaction in the conciousness of the individual.
  • Teens who have experienmented drinking alcohol are more likely to have difficulties with their memory throughout their lives.
  • Unlike with adults, teens who drink alcohol also tend to abuse other substances as well like marijuana and other drugs.
  • The younger the person is when they begin drinking, the more likely they are to have a problem with alcohol and alcoholism later on in life.
  • Each year, about 2,000 teens and young adults under the age of 21 die in alcohol-related car accidents. Alcohol is involved in some capacity in nearly half of all violent teen deaths in the United States.
  • Teen who drink are more likely to act on their sexual tendencies with little or no regard or preparation. For example, they are more likely to have sex with a stranger, have unprotected sex, which can lead to the spreading of sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies. Teens who drink are also more likely to be the victim of a perpetrator or of a sexual assault. 

Alcohol and teens can be a dangerous combination because many teens do not know or understand the risks involved with underage drinking. Most teens do not understand the concept of a drinking limit and often over do it when it comes to drinking leading to risky behaviors like binge drinking. Binge drinking has caused the death of many teens, with numbers that continue to rise. While teens are often taught about the dangers of drinking in health class, that might already be too late as more and more teens are beginning to try alcohol and drink on a regular basis at a younger age. This is when it is the most important for parents to discuss the topic of alcohol and teens with their children. Clear communication is the best way to give your teen an idea of what you expect from them and how to deal with other teen issues like peer pressure, which is common when it comes to underage drinking.  First it is important to be able to know and recognize the signs that your teen might be drinking. Be weary of parties that your teen wants to go to especially if they are not going to be supervised by an adult. If you do choose to allow your teen to go make sure you talk to them about alcohol use and how to avoid peer pressure.

Be ready to recognize the signs of intoxication, lying behaviors and other forms of manipulation from your teen. These might be an effort to hide the fact that they are already drinking or are spending time wtih their friends drinking. Many times teens get caught up in the chance to have fun with their friends that they completely do not take into account exactly how risky drinking underage can be. From driving under the influence to binge drinking, there are so many risks a teen takes when they drink. Teens also risk putting themselves in a dangerous sexual situation because the alcohol effects on their brain has impaired their judgment. This can lead to sexual assault, date rape or simply cases of unprotected sex, which may cause them to contract STDs or encounter a case of teen pregnancy. It should be up to the parent of the teen to make sure their teen knows and understands these risks. 


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