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Issues with Teenagers and Alcohol Abuse

Issues with Teenagers and Alcohol Abuse

People have been drinking alcohol for thousands of years, and attitudes about alcohol have fluctuated greatly over the centuries. It has gone from being an accepted form of relaxation to being a tool of the devil and recently it has risen to the number one drug of choice among North American teenagers. Alcohol is classified as a drug because of its effects on the body. It is not digested like a food; instead it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and travels to the brain. Alcohol first acts as a stimulant by making the drinker feel happy and less inhibited because alcohol affects the part of the brain responsible for learned behaviors, like self-control. As more alcohol enters the bloodstream and saturates the brain, it starts to act as a depressant on the central nervous system. This results in slurred speech, loss of co-ordination and possibly a drop in level of consciousness.

On Friday and Saturday nights, drinking is the recreational activity of choice for many teenagers, some of them being underage, making this an illegal pastime. However it is not the fact that there are many underage drinkers that is so dangerous, it is the general abuse of alcohol that is causing problems. Whether they are underage or legal seems to not make much of a difference since “38% of young drinkers reported getting drunk for the first time before grade 10.” (Grosshandler 31) But it makes sense to think that drinkers who start young and continue to abuse alcohol will more likely be problem drinkers when they get older. Many kids have their first drink because they are curious and they want to fit in, possibly with an older crowd. If their first experience turns out to be a pleasurable one, they will continue to drink to get high, this being where a problem develops. Drinking to get drunk becomes a habit, so that every Friday, Saturday, and often other nights as well turn into competitions about who can get wasted first and who the last person left standing will be. A recent trend has been to “front-load” that is to arrive at a party or event already intoxicated. It is hard to imagine how a party could go anywhere but downhill when everybody staggers in. Our society’s...

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Category:   Social Issues

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