Underage Drinking Amongst Teens a Growing Concern

underage drinking

Underage drinking is the action of consuming alcohol before you reach the age of twenty-one. Underage drinking is becoming a growing concern for parents, communities, and the nation as a whole. Consuming alcohol is attracting many developing teens who do not know the damage they are causing in the own health, lives, families, and communities. Underage drinking is not only illegal, but becoming an alarming concern for the public health associations.

Why is Underage Drinking Becoming a Large Problem

A study taken in 2009 reports that, 10.4 million young adults between the ages of 12 and 20 admitted to drinking more than just a few sips of alcohol. By the age of 15 more than half of teens had more than one drink and as they get older the higher their likelihood of drinking alcohol increased. By the age of 18 more than 70% had at least on drink. These percentages prove that the later in their teenage years the higher they are at risk to experiment with alcohol. It may seem like an over reaction to the stats, since the criteria state that they had a few sips or more than one drink.

Unfortunately, the criterion does not take into account the extent of their consumption of alcohol. It is true that adults, individuals over the age of 21, drink alcohol more frequently (a few times a week) than underage drinkers. The problem is that underage drinker’s abuse alcohol at much higher quantities. On average young adults drink 5 drinks per occasion. Infrequent, high volume drinking is called binge drinking. About 90% of the alcohol consumed by underage kids in the United States is in the form of binge drinking.

The Risks of Underage Drinking

The problem with underage drinking is that teenagers do not fully comprehend the damage they can do to their bodies. As teens they can feel as they are invincible or anything problem can be fixed by a quick parental intervention, but that is not the case. There are roughly 5,000 deaths each year caused alcohol related care accidents, homicides, suicides, alcohol poisoning, falls, burns, and drowning. There were more than 0,000 under 21 visits to the emergency room for alcohol related injuries in 2005 alone. Underage drinking, because of the relatively small stature of teens and reasons for drinking (to get drunk), can cause negative effects on their bodies and judgment. Drinking causes underage teens to make poor decisions, drink and drive, have unsafe sexual activity, and can lead to violence.

It also has negative short and long term effects on the brain. It is well known that the brain continues to develop well into the individuals twenties, drinking can cause serious brain damage that can be irreversible. Binge drinking is even worse because the binge drinker drinks with the intention of getting inebriated. This can lead to unintentional injuries, intentional injuries, alcohol poisoning, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, liver disease, neurological damage, sexual dysfunction, and poor control of diabetes.

Recognizing Underage Drinking

If you suspect your child or someone of underage drinking there are several signs and signals to be sure. They will begin to show decreased interest in their educational well-being and grades will decline. They may begin hanging out with a new set of friends with new hobbies.

You may find alcohol related products in their living quarters or in their clothing like bottle openers, beer bongs, bottle caps, or the smell of beer on them. If they are under the influence they will be uncoordinated, have slurred speech, memory or concentration problems, acting abnormally, or physically sick.



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