March 2003
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Teen Drinking
By Jamie B., Grade 12, Marystown Central High, Burin, NL

"Going on the drunk this weekend" is a common phrase for a large portion of teenagers out there. Many people still fail to understand the crippling affect alcohol has on the minds of everyone, especially youths. We've all heard the facts about how drugs are bad. But still many people fail to class alcohol as a drug. Just because it's the country's drug of choice doesn't make it any safer. It's not an issue of drug consumption though, it's a matter of the early age that kids start. Since Canada's legal drinking age is only 19, kids begin drinking at lower ages.

Unbeknownst to many as well is that binge drinking is defined as downing 5 or more drinks in a short period of time. This is classed for people of all ages, not just kids alone. I can assure you that over 65% of the teenagers who say they have a social drink exceed these binge-drinking limits. This sort of activity causes serious damage to the body and the brain. Not only physically, but mentally as well. Alcohol is classed as a depressant. This means that the user of alcohol who feels rather happy is actually drinking themselves into a bigger and bigger state of sadness and hopelessness. Combining this with the pressures of teenage life, such as parents, leads to a kid with severe emotional problems.

The low legal age limit also makes parents believe that it's okay for their kid to go out and have a scattered drink. That is a grave mistake on their behalf. In America the legal age is 21, so for a kid to go drinking at 16 or 17 is unheard of by most parents. Yet in Canada that's just about the age most start going out for a social drink with their friends. A 16 year old Canadian is no different then a 16 year old American. Why should one be allowed to drink and the other not? Alcohol affects both of them the same way. It's ridiculous and unheard of for a kid who's still in highschool to be allowed to have a drink.

At 16, a teenager is just beginning to seriously get into high school. How well you do in school determines your social status and how good or bad your lifestyle will be. Alcohol is an addictive depressant that kills brain cells and lowers performance and mental abilities. To allow a teen to begin drinking at this age and ruin his chances for a better lifestyle is called poor parenting. Yet the amount of teenage alcoholism continues to increase. Just because the age limit is low doesn't make it okay for a kid to have a drink when so much is at stake. Picture yourself or someone you know a couple years down the road still paying out for the bottle. Being nothing more then a pile of wasted potential.

Remember these things when you take your next drink. Forget the laws, forget your parent's opinion, forget all of that and ask yourself if getting a buzz on every weekend is worth wasting the rest of your life. Do it for yourself. Weigh your choices carefully.



Lorena W., 17, Birchy Bay, NL
I think that it's rediculous that teens are allowed to drink, but I also think that its their own choice about whether or not they want to drink. Its not like we can do anything to stop them unless extreme measures are taken. Even then, it would probably be quite hard to keep them from any form of liquor if they really wanted to get any.


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