$1000. What could you get for $1000? For this much money you could buy 235 pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks or Spend 9 days at Disney land. But now you can’t. You just had to take that drink, that one sip of beer costs you $1000. In Idaho it is illegal for anyone under 21, to possess, purchase, attempt to purchase or serve alcoholic beverages. Your first conviction will be no more than $1000, Next time you will be fined no more that $2000 and or spend up to 30 days in jail. The third time you are caught you will pay at most $3000 and or must spend 60 does in jail. Does anyone really want that? Today I am here to inform you about underage drinking and possible solutions for it. In the next few minutes I will tell you about why underage drinking a problem is, then I will tell you about the causes of underage drinking, finally I will describe the solutions being done to fix this problem. Let’s begin by talking about why drinking underage is a problem. According to the NIAAA, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, underage drinking is a threat to public health in the US.
Alcohol can affect teens health, and behaviors. The Drug Abuse Warning Network, included a graph in an article they wrote. This table shows us that about 1,900 or half of the drug abuse related ER visits were by people younger the 21 and involved alcohol. The table also shows that 43.2% of all drug misuse and abuse were made by people younger than 21. Studies show that drinking underage can cause people to be riskier. Risky behaviors include getting behind a wheel, suicide or even participating in other illegal things. The NIAAA, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, says more than 5,000 underage teenagers die every year do to underage drinking, the drink caused 1,900 of them to get behind the wheel, 1,600 of them were killed by people who had been drinking, 300 of the underage drinkers committed suicide, and hundred died from accidents, such as falls, burns and drowning. Underage drinking is not a rare problem, its all around us. Another CDC study showed that 33% of high school students admitted that they have had a drink within the past month, 18% of student reported binge drinking, 8% drove a car after drinking, and 20% got into a car with a drunk driver.
These are just some reasons why drinking is a problem in the United States. Now that I talked about why underage drinking is a problem, let me tell you what causes teens to drink. In todays world there are many factors that influence kids today, including social media, peer pressure, or forms entertainment. The NIAAA found many factors that could influence teens to drink such as, inherited alcoholism and social influences from parents and friends. A video from the New York Times Company shares with us a study that researches held to find a connection between film and underage drinking. Researchers test over 5,000 teens and found more than 350 popular movies that showed alcohol. The result showed that alcohol in movies increased the risk of underage drinking and binge drinking. Subjects that watch the films more were 2.4 times likely to drink weekly and 2 times likely to have alcohol related problems. Another influence teen have is their parents.
If children grow up with a parent who is an alcoholic, they are more likely to drink verses some one who didn’t. According to opposing viewpoints, many parents allow their underage teens to drink at home. They do this because they believe their kids will be safer if they do it at home then at some party. One big issue that causes underage drinking is peer pressure. In fact, 74% of teens said they felt pressure from their peer to drink on prom night. Opposing viewpoints writes, “Many teenagers engage in binge drinking because it serves as a familiar rite of passage in many situations. This is particularly prevalent on college campuses, where most students are under the minimal age, and where fraternities and sororities, dorm parties, and other social situations provide easy access to alcohol.” Factors such as movies, parents, and friends can influence underage teens to drink alcohol. It can take place anywhere from the teens house to prom night at a party.
Last, I will describe what is being done to solve the underage drinking problem. The three major ways that underage drinking can be solve is parental, school, and environmental approaches.
First is the parental approach:
Researchers say parents need to communicate more with their teens about drinking underage.
AskListenLearn.org shares 10 ways teens should know to refuse alcohol:
1. Be blunt
2. Divert the Attention
3. Keep your cool
4. Shake it off
5. Blame mom and dad
6. Blow it off
7. Stay honest
8. Think of your future
9. Make a healthy choice
10. Communicate clearly
Another method to help prevent underage drinking is through schools. Researchers say we should have school programs that help educate us and provide prevention programs. According to juvenile Drinking, environment shows to have the most effect. Increasing price on alcohol raising the legal drinking age and increasing enforcement of alcohol-related laws all have shown to be successful. The alcohol Problems and solutions page provides a graph for readers about high school seniors. In 1980 87.9% of seniors had consumed alcohol within the past 30 days. When tested again in 2014, the rates dropped about 35%. This is a sign that our society is getting better. Though underage drinking is still a problem, it isn’t as big as it was in the past. Today we talked about why underage drinking is a problem then we discussed what causes this problem and finally we found out how the US was addressing this problem. Next time you are somewhere with alcohol think about your future. Think about that $1000 that you could spend on Starbucks for this winter. Most importantly just say no and walk away. Thank You.