I have been carrying out some research about teenage drinking. There is an increasing concern about teenagers and their consumption of alcohol so I decided to find out how teenagers get their alcohol, why and where they drink, what the effects and consequences of teenage drinking can be. I also tried to find out what is being done to deal with the problem associated with teenage drinking.
In my written text where and why teenagers drink, I found that teenage drinking is an increasing problem. Most teenagers start drinking because they are bored and/or they want to be in with the crowd. “Teenagers think that if they start drinking they will be accepted by the popular people.” In my studies I have found that after the Government passed the law to lower the drinking age from 20 years to 18 years that a younger age group has been exposed to alcohol. If the drinking age was still 20 some younger teenagers would still get alcohol, but there would not be as many because they would not have friends old enough to buy it for them.
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The Drug Policy Research Centre in the USA says, “…that attempts to control teen alcohol consumption should focus less on prevention of initiation or any use and more on prevention of misuse.” One of the many concerns is the long-term health issues like having a stroke at an early age and serious liver damage. Another concern is memory loss and constant tiredness. Alcohol attacks the heart’s efficiency at pumping blood through the kidneys, which normally filter excess salt and water out of the blood. The blood volume can rise and cause a fatal back up of fluid in the lungs.
Lots of teenagers feel that they need to drink in social situations, where they feel uncomfortable and are not confident. Alcohol helps to relax the drinker and also helps them to be less self-conscious so they let loose and behave more sociably.
Having a drink in a social situation is acceptable but the drinker needs to know when they have had enough. They don’t need to drink a lot just so they can get drunk. Excess alcohol does not wear off in a couple of hours; it takes a long time for the body to get back to normality. Teenagers are at risk of alcoholic poisoning because their bodies are not ready for large quantities of alcohol. If people were introduced to alcohol at a young age in a socially controlled situation it would be accepted as a normal part of life and the need to binge drink would be reduced.
Young people get influenced to drink in a lot of very different ways. Advertisements send messages to young people that alcohol is fun. Many of the advertisements have humour and show that people can have a lot of fun with alcohol and come up with fun things to do. It is not just ads on TV, it is also advertisements on billboards with catch phrases, which make teenagers think that their brand is cool and want to start drinking that particular brand. I don’t think that the companies making those ads know that they are getting through to young people and just think they are getting to legal adults.
But whatever you do young teens are still going to get alcohol – one way or another. Alcohol doesn’t have to be a problem; it has been a part of society since the beginning of time!
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