TEENS AND ALCOHOL
by Steven M., Grade 7, Mississauga, ON
Alcohol is a widely used drug commonly consumed by teenagers. Some teenagers use alcohol to try and reduce stress in their lives. Others drinks because of peer pressure or to be ‘cool’. Others to boost their ‘self-esteem’.
Studies show 83% of high school students have used alcohol compared to 68% who have smoked cigarettes and 44% have used marijuana and only 7% have use of cocaine (1997 Statistics Canada Report). In my school close to 70% of students drink and close to 56% drink excessively (Study done by Toronto District School Board, February 2000). My school consists of students ages 11-15 and houses some 900 students.
Studies indicate that teenagers who attempt suicide are generally teens who use a lot of alcohol and drugs. Teens who dropout of school, slack off in studies or have too many absences are often responding to problems caused by the use of alcohol or other drugs. I asked a classmate of mine, Katrina, why she drinks: ‘What else am I going to do....I’m bullied at school.....I feel alone...I have a drink and feel like I can cope”. While Jason, a Grade 9 student, said, “I like to hang out with my friends and have a few”.
Drinking alcohol can cause a lot of emotional stress because people are more likely to do foolish things when they are drunk. When people are drunk they participate in stupid things like rape and assault.
As noted above, teens turn to alcohol for many reasons: for example, peer pressure, unhappy home life, parents that drink. Studies show that an estimated 6.6 million children under the age of 18 live in households with at least one alcoholic parent.
Alcohol is a dangerous drug. Once you get addicted to it is so hard to get out. People start drinking at a young age. Studies show that more than 63% of high school students drink regularly and 30% say that they have had five or more drinks in a row during the past week.
Alcohol related problems are a major concern for society. Use of alcohol causes disruption in schools and among teenagers. If a person uses alcohol without moderation they can cause themselves a lot of problems. Studies show that nearly 20 million people, ages 12 and older, received treatments for alcohol problems in 1997. Alcohol is a drug that can disrupt your teen years as well as cause damage to your liver. Heavy drinking makes it harder for your body to fight off diseases caused by alcoholism.
The affects of alcohol abuse can cause so many problems for teens, problems that could stay with them for a long time.