I know that you all know what I'm talking about when I say that
government efforts don't really do much when it comes to making
alcohol inaccessible to minors. We all have that certain friend
who is always willing to pick up a case or a bottle for you.
The temptation to drink is always there, straight from when
we were children, seeing our parents and family members getting
hammered and having a great time. We don't see the after effects,
at that age we see fun. Not to mention that television does not
help either, with all those beautiful people acting sophisticated
and mature and having a good time. It's no wonder so many people
start drinking at such a young age. Because alcohol is a legal
substance for adults, lots of young people assume that it is
safe for them to drink, too. It's not. In fact, half of all teenagers
who die every year die as a direct result of alcohol or drug
abuse--mostly in accidents. But we all want to be adults, and
that includes drinking adult beverages. The only problem is that
most people don't have the maturity to drink at a young age.
A lot of adults don't even have the maturity to drink, so why
do we think that we do?
By the time a person has reached highschool, he or she has
most likely heard or seen more advertisements for beer and wine
coolers than for any other product. It is no wonder that more
than 50% of ninth graders report having drunk alcohol. By the
time they've reached 12th grade, almost 90% report they have
drunk alcohol even though it's illegal for them to buy it in
Teens drink for many reasons. They drink to be accepted by
their peers or to assert their independence. They drink because
alcohol may make them feel better if they are depressed or lonely,
and they may drink because there simply isn't anything else to
do. Unfortunately, the price is high. Teenagers who drink are
more likely to get in trouble with the law and with school authorities.
They lose out on chances to learn and gain valuable skills. They
risk injuring themselves and others. They alienate themselves
from friends and family. They risk doing irresponsible things
while drunk--like having unprotected sex and risking getting
pregnant or becoming infected with HIV, the virus that causes
Alcohol may mess up your thinking, and may make it hard to
maintain social relationships with friends. Good friends respect
your right to be YOU. True friends won't make you drink if you
don't want to.
Remember that it is illegal to buy or consume alcohol if you
are under 19 (unless your family offers it to you in your own
home). And it is illegal for your parents to allow your friends
to drink in their home. Many teens have concerns about alcohol
use in the home. In fact, one of every eight teens is a child
of an alcoholic.
If you are concerned about your use of alcohol, or its use
by a friend or relative, lots of help is available. Your school
may have a student assistance coordinator or there may be a coach,
teacher, or clergy person available. Your health care provider
will always be able to provide information and guidance.