Teen Drinking – Taking Life away from Life – Kazi Falguni Eshita
Shelby Allen, a 17-year old athlete didn’t seem like the usual wild party girl. One night, she went to a friend, Jane’s party. Shelby planned to drink 15 shots of vodka when there were no adults around. When Shelby got sick, her friend led her to the nearest bathroom to throw up. When she seemed to have fainted, she was propped up against the toilet for the rest of the night. A friend went to check on her much later the next morning.
“Shelby was still slumped in the downstairs bathroom, completely motionless. Her head hung over the edge of the toilet bowl, her lip split from having slammed against the porcelain in a bout of violent heaving. Pulling Shelby up, Alyssa saw her friend’s face streaked in blood. She tried to rouse her, but Shelby remained unresponsive. An older sister was summoned and phoned her father. He quickly returned to the house and dialed 911 to have an ambulance sent to his home right away because he’d found “a child that’s here, and I don’t think she’s breathing.” When asked if he was sure she wasn’t breathing, he responded, “I can’t … I’m not sure she’s alive right now.”
Dispatchers instructed him on how to perform CPR, urging him to continue until medical help arrived. The EMTs who arrived on the scene found a weak pulse, but were unable to revive the girl. Shelby Allen was pronounced dead at 9:40 on the morning of December 20. Her blood-alcohol content was 0.33, four times the legal driving limit for adults in California.”
The story above illustrates how alarming underage drinking can be.Statistics show that kids in grades 7-12 consume 35 percent of the wine coolers sold in the USA. Each year, students spend $ 5.5 billion on alcoholic beverages. 10.6 million children in grades 7-12 drank more than one billion cans of beer in 1991. Alcohol is implicated in 41 percent of academic problems and 21 percent of all dropouts.
Any amount of alcohol in a person’s blood can be harmful. Moreover, if that person happens to be underage (below 21), he/she can be even more vulnerable to damages caused by alcohol. Obviously, a teenage body is not as developed as the adult body, so it may not respond to drugs like alcohol the way an adult does.
There are definitely more than one reasons of underage drinking. There are emotional causes like loneliness, or trying to copy an alcoholic parent. Curiosity or peer pressure can lead a teen to alcohol. Movies can also encourage someone to drink.
In a recent study, 30 percent of high school seniors qualified as heavy drinkers.14 percent of the 8th graders fall in the same category.”
Maybe this happens because drinking behind parent’s back make teens feel grown up. On the other hand, if the victim teen happens to be the only child with both parents working outside for a long time, he/she might seek refuge in alcohol to get away from loneliness. Alcohol, or any other addiction, has the ability to take the affected person away from reality by providing an abnormal happiness. That happiness, might sometimes seem more important than one’s physical well being.
Whenever teens see their peers drinking, they might feel curious to know about it or just eager to try it because it might seem “cool.” As a result, teens might get trapped in the long term evil claws of alcohol. According to Christian Science Monitor: “15 year olds who had the highest exposure to alcohol use in films were far more likely to try and to binge drink than those with the least exposure.” It is true that alcohol is an accepted part of life in many countries. Even then, it is best to place some sort of restriction on alcohol marketing and advertising across the globe for the benefit of the future generation.
Parents are supposed to be children’s best friends. Unfortunately, alcoholic parents never realize the dangers they are pushing their children into. Some teenagers tend to worship the ground their parents walk on. As a result, they can start drinking when they see their alcoholic parents. “I’m the parent. You are the child. I give the orders. What I say or do isn’t your business.” (Bender-44) Having the mindset illustrated by this quote is of no use. If parents want their teens to stay away from bad habits, they should watch their own habits first.
Drinking kills a large number of brain cells. Alcohol releases dopamine, which makes one feel good. Teens tend to react too much to damage, but they seldom feel the warnings. (Paraphrased from Karson). Sedation, tiredness, slurring words or stumbling shows adults that they’ve had enough drinking for the day. Teenagers cannot recognize such signs.
Binge drinkers might argue that they are not really alcoholics because they only drink occasionally. Even that can cause a lot of internal harm to the human body. Nausea or vomiting might show that the person is drunk, but neurological damages remain unseen. Alcohol can also be blamed for diseases like liver sirrosis or kidney damages.
Teenagers are mostly students living on a tight budget. Therefore, cutting down or eliminating alcohol consumption can lead to some good monetary savings. On the other hand, teens might never know how many little blessings they are missing out on, by being completely immersed in alcohol. It is far better to be addicted to something creative like music or arts, instead of sinking into a fatal, bitter beverage.