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Teen Alcahol Abuse

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    Abstract
    Alcohol is the easiest substance for teens to gain access to and leads to dangerous and risky behavior. Directly and indirectly, alcohol contributes to 75% of deaths amongst teens. Binge drinking amongst teens 16-18 years old is very dangerous and exceedingly prevalent. Research shows, teens primarily gain access to alcohol from their homes or the homes of their friends. In addition, studies have un-covered parents admitted to allowing their teen to drink alcohol while under their supervision. There are many myths about how serious the substance is and how parents need to react to consumption but overall alcohol is very serious and needs to be closely monitored.

    Underage Alcohol Abuse
    Alcohol is the easiest substance for teens to gain access to and leads to dangerous and risky behavior. There are many myths about underage drinking and the seriousness about the subject. Point blank, drinking is the number one killer of teens in America. Directly and indirectly, “alcohol contributes to 75% of deaths among teens” (2005, Aug 09). Binge drinking amongst teens 16 to 18 years old is very dangerous and exceedingly prevalent. Research shows, teens primarily gain access to alcohol from their own homes or the homes of their friends.

    Parents of teens 16 to 18 years old need to take precaution when bringing in alcoholic beverages into their homes and not advocate underage drinking. One myth about alcohol is parents believe it to be acceptable as long as the parents supervise the underage drinking. “One out of four teens has admitted to drinking alcohol in front of their parents. In addition, parents have admitted to allowing their teen to drink alcohol while under their supervision” (2005, Aug 09). I can also validate this because I was offered alcohol during family functions when I was 16 to 18 years old. My parents and aunts/uncles thought I was mature enough and encouraged drinking but only when I was around our family. Parents believe they are more experienced with alcohol and mostly can drink responsibly in the comfort of their own homes.

    However, while under the influence of alcohol, parents make impaired judgment decisions such as, allowing their teenage children to join in the alcohol consumption. Regarding my experience, I received the most encouragement mid-through the family parties as the adults grew more and more incoherent. My family is Mexican and in their country the legal drinking age is 18 years old. Nonetheless, I can remember being as young as 15 when I was first introduced to alcohol so the drinking age did not have the utmost importance either. My tolerance to drinking alcohol grew greater through the years, thus increasing my alcohol ingestion.

    Though nothing too drastic happened to me, I can disapprove by saying I grew up way before my time. “One third of the teens 16-18 that admitted to drinking stated they obtained the substance from their own parent’s liquor cabinet. This escalates to 40 percent when the parents of friends are included” (2005, Aug 09). My friends and I were fully aware of whose parents had alcohol in the house, and we conveniently would set up sleepovers or gatherings at that house. Drinking became the normal activity to do. Again, parents are fools to believe it is acceptable to have their teen partake in underage drinking just because it is under their own supervision. There are laws in place for a reason and parents should not break the laws.

    The laws are set up to protect teens from the harmful effects of underage drinking. Parents need to oblige and educate their teens rather than break the law that may result in hurting their teen or innocent bystanders. Another myth about alcohol is it is not a drug. Because alcohol is sold at many grocery stores and is available in many homes, teens believe alcohol is not a drug. For this reason, when I was a teen I thought I was a “good-girl” because the only illegal substance I ever tried was drink alcohol at parties. This myth about alcohol is widespread and needs to be clarified. Alcohol is equally as dangerous as any other illicit drug. ‘The effects of alcohol amongst teens are amplified as a result of the lack of brain development than that of an adult 21 years and older” (2005, Aug 09) Teens do not have the tolerance built up nor the life experience than that of an adult. The attention span of a teen is much different from that of an adult. A teen will react much different to a car crash sober than a sober adult because of his or her lack of driving experience. Adding alcohol to the mix just makes everything much more dangerous. With these myths, there are also risky behaviors teens will practice while under the influence of alcohol.

    The risky behaviors are adopted because of the impaired judgment from the teen. Teens that normally behave in a proper manner will alter their behavior while under the influence. Not only will they harm themselves, they will also harm their friends or people around them. “Un-intentional deaths are the biggest killer of teens in America” (2012, March) In other words, accidents, teens do not plan hurting themselves when they are out engaging in drinking activities, but it is almost impossible not to get into some type of dangerous situation. Either by drinking themselves or by associating with other drunk teens, unintentional harm is near. “Over 5,000 teens die every year due to alcohol related crashes as well as another 190,000 teens have been seriously hurt” (2012, March). This is alarming and should be taken very serious. Almost a quarter million teens are hurt every year. This proves teens are not ready to drink until they have at least turned the age of 21. Another risky behavior is suicide. Alcohol also can be linked to suicide because it is a form of depressant. Depression amongst teens is already common so adding a depressant increases unhealthy thoughts and diminishes any natural coping mechanisms. “Of the 5,000 alcohol related deaths among teens, 300 were suicide” (2012, March).

    Teens just do not have the life experience to react to depression as that of an adult. Their lives experience has just begun, and they are not aware of their capabilities or their will power. Mixing alcohol with a troubled teen is a recipe for disaster. It is like adding fuel to a fire. Parents need to watch out for signs of depression and especially keep alcohol away so any threats are not amplified. Furthermore, un-protected sex amongst teens is another risky behavior. It is not equally as important as drunk driving or suicide but must also be considered. “As many as two thirds of sexual assaults and date rapes among teens and college students are alcohol-related” (2002,10). Because one or both partners are incoherent while under the influence, the choices they make are not the most strategic. “Male teens become more aggressive while intoxicated and female teens become less cognizant” (2013) Again, because teens are under the influence of alcohol, their attitudes are altered. Male teens may not take no for an answer, and females may send mixed signals to their partner enticing intercourse even though they do not realize it.

    Teen pregnancy is also related to un-protected sex. Impaired judgment from both the male and female teen can lead to this type of risky behavior. I had six girlfriends all through high school. Four of them got pregnant between the ages of 16 to 18 years old. Drinking at parties definitely influenced the pregnancies. One of my girlfriends did not even know who fathered her child because she was inebriated during conception. It was very sad to grow up with them and see them struggle through motherhood. Parents must protect their teens from teen pregnancy as much as possible as well as every other risk that comes from un-protected sex. Underage drinking is 100% preventable. Parents must wake up. They need to take more drastic measures to ensure their teens are safe and abstinent from alcohol abuse. One preventative measure is debatable by many and causes much conflict. Alcohol screening is the best method to uncovering alcohol abuse. This method is viewed by many as invasive and controlling. Due to the dangerous and deadly outcomes that arise from underage drinking, extreme actions must be done by parents to safeguard their teens.

    There are many over-the-counter alcohol screening kits ranging from breathalyzers to saliva screening. Both types are very economical and costs under $100. This is the best and most accurate way to screen teens for alcohol consumption. Once the teen is aware of the screening, he or she will think twice before engaging in alcoholic activities, thus safeguarding them from harmful situations. Because parents want to teach their teens life-lessons and give them the opportunity to grow into their own personality, they fail to realize how much peer pressure there is for underage drinking. It is better for a teen to respect their parents and be cautious about alcohol rather than befriend their parents and jeopardize their life. No parent wants to bury his or her child nor should they have to. Parents must realize the seriousness about underage drinking and put a stop to it immediately, especially while under their supervision. Drastic and invasive measures should be taken to ensure the safety of their teen.

    References
    Kuntzman, G. (2005, Aug 09). Drinks on the house – Most teens get booze from their folks. New York Post. Retrieved from: http://search.proquest.com/docview/334259947?accountid=458 Maffeo, R. (2002, 10). When the party’s over. Listen, 56, 12-14. Retrieved from: http://search.proquest.com/docview/230520774?accountid=458

    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2012, March). Underage Drinking. Retrieved from http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/special populations-cooccurring-disorders/underage-drinking

    Temple, Jeff R, Shorey, Ryan C, Fite, Paula, Stuart, Gregory L, Le,Vi Donna. (2013). Substance use as a longitudinal predictor of the perpetration of teen dating violence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42(4), 596-606

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    Teen Alcahol Abuse. (2016, Jun 06). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/teen-alcahol-abuse/

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