Lewis and Clark
by Fumika Yamamoto
There are many causes for drinking alcohol. For example, some people have developed a habit and drink alcohol before dinner everyday. Others use alcohol as a method to get rid of their stress. Especially teenagers are so sensitive that after they have a confrontation or an argument, they tend to turn to alcohol to relieve uncomfortable feelings. But the most important cause is that a lot of teenagers are not aware of the risks of the alcohol. In our society, they rarely realize alcoholism is a serious disease because there are many adults, especially their parents, who drink alcohol around teenagers. Moreover, there are many advertisements which show alcohol is a very attractive drink. This causes a situation in which teenagers think not only everybody is drinking alcohol, but also it's kind of cool and makes them look like adults. This situation also makes them believe that in order to have fun, they need to drink alcohol.
What is the result of teen use of alcohol? According to the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, in spite of its illegality, a lot of college students buy and drink alcohol as one of the most common forms of entertainment on campus. For instance, 41 percent of college students confessed not only do they drink alcohol for fun but also they drink five or more drinks at least once in two weeks. Furthermore, at both two year and four year colleges, the more students drink alcohol, the lower grades they tend to get. This was supported by a1991 study showing that while 'A' students averaged 3.6 drinks per week and 'B' students 5.5 drinks, 'C' students averaged 7.6 drinks per week while 'D' or ' F' students averaged 10.6. Almost one &endash; third of the students at four years colleges miss class and nearly one quarter of students cannot do well on a test or project because of alcohol or other drug use (Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, 1995).
According to a 1991 national survey, at least once in the past year, 63 percent of college students have experienced a hangover, 49.9 percent have become nauseated or vomited, 39.3 percent have regretted their actions, 36 percent have driven while intoxicated, 33.2 percent have gotten into an argument or fight, and 28 percent have experienced memory loss. Moreover, about 159,000 of today's freshmen will drop out of college next year, and about 300,000 of today's students will eventually die because of alcohol and other drugs (1995). Of course, it's very dangerous for everybody to drink alcohol; however, especially in our society, alcohol use among teens should be more focused on and should be solved as soon as possible. These statistics show that alcohol is not only an adult problem, but also a teen problem in our society.
There are two main effects of teen drinking. One is long-term physical effects, such as fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis ( Overview of alcohol-related problems, 1997). Alcohol affects every system in the body. For example, drinking alcohol can cause headache, upset stomach and dehydration(1997). The faster teenagers start drinking, the heavier the influence in the body. The other effect, the most important effect, is the increased risk of injury or death because of car crashes, falls, drowning, suicides and homicides. Teenagers don't have enough experience about alcohol so that they don't know about intoxication. It's very hard for teenagers to recognize how dangerous alcohol can be. Such risky behaviors can lead teenagers to have unprotected sex, too. It can lead to acquiring HIV/AIDS as well as other sexually transmitted diseases, and also lead to unwanted pregnancy (Alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, 1995).
Thus, teen alcohol use has many causes and serious effects. It's very important to realize that teen alcohol use does not only involve a few "bad" teenagers, but also provides a lot of "average" teen's "entertainment." Moreover, we should consider the effects of teen alcohol use, not only from the health aspects, but also because of the dangerous acts and negative effects on college study. It's not a temporary problem, but a more serious problem. To drink alcohol can destroy a teen's brilliant future and can rob them of their marvelous dreams.
Alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and the college experience. (1995). [ online] Available http://www.health.org/pubs/makelink/ml-collg.htm (Oct. 27, 1999)
Overview of alcohol-related problems.(1997) [ online] Available http://cpmcnet.columbia.edu/texts/guide/hmg06_0003.html (Oct. 27, 1999)
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