Experimentation with alcohol during the teen years is common. Some reasons that teens use alcohol and other drugs are: curiosity, to feel good, reduce stress and relax, to fit in, or to feel older.
From a very young age, kids see advertising messages showing beautiful people enjoying life, and alcohol. And because many parents and other adults use alcohol socially, having beer or wine with dinner, for example. “Alcohol seems harmless to many teens.”
Why Shouldn’t I Drink?
Although it is illegal to buy alcohol in the United States until the age of 21, most teens can get access to it. It is therefore up to you to make a decision about drinking. In addition to the possibility of becoming addicted, there are some downsides to drinking:
The punishment is severe. Teens who drink put themselves at risk for obvious problems with the law, it is illegal and you can get arrested. Teens who drink are also more likely to get into fights and commit crimes than those who don’t.
People who drink regularly also often have problems with school. Drinking can damage a student’s ability to study well and get decent grades, as well as affect sports performance, the coordination thing.
You can look really stupid. The impression is that drinking is cool, but the nervous system changes that come from drinking alcohol can make people do stupid or embarrassing things, like throwing up or peeing on themselves. Drinking also gives people bad breath, and no one enjoys a hangover.
Alcohol puts your health at risk. Teens who drink are more likely to be sexually active and to have unsafe, unprotected sex. Resulting pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases can change or even end, lives. The risk of injuring yourself, maybe even fatally, is higher when you are under the influence, too. One half of all drowning deaths among teen guys are related to alcohol use. Use of alcohol greatly increases the chance that a teen will be involved in a car crash, homicide, or suicide.
Teen drinkers are more likely to get fat or have health problems, too. One study by the University of Washington found that people who regularly had five or more drinks in a row starting at age 13 were much more likely to be overweight or have high blood pressure by age 24 than their nondrinking peers. People who continue drinking heavily well into adulthood risk damaging their organs, such as the liver, heart, and brain.
The Arkansas Human Development Corporation (AHDC) is the lead organization that serves
Arkansas Spanish speaking communities with preventive education outreach regarding alcohol usage among Hispanic youth, contact Sue Espinoza (501) 374-1103 extension 15.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. For information regarding alcohol abuse, call 1-800