Teens represent only 10% of drivers, yet they are responsible for 17% of fatal alcohol-induced vehicle accidents. Underage drinking and driving is just one of the many ways that alcohol can detrimentally affect young people.
Alcohol is an intoxicating sedating substance that impairs multiple body functions including. Alcohol inhibits judgment, which can lead to detrimental behaviors particularly in young consumers.
Firm No-Alcohol Policies Can be Life Altering
There’s a common nonchalance among adults –especially parents of teens—that “kids will be kids” and will drink anyway; however, not only is this not true, the reality is that any underage drinking could have life-long negative effects on a young person’s health, development, and quality of life.
Young people do listen to and respect their parents. Authority figures are the number one ticket to keeping young people from underage drinking. To help young people make the right choices, adults should:
· Never buy alcohol for underage people
· Make alcohol accessible in the home
· Avoid modeling risky drinking behaviors
Children and young people observe their parents. Communicative parents have better results with their children, so make sure to speak openly about the personal and legal risks associated with underage drinking to your children.
Common Life-Altering Effects Caused by Underage Drinking
When young people drink underage, they are more vulnerable to alcohol’s inhibitive effects, which include:
· A tendency to drive under the influence or to get into the car with someone under the influence
· Increased likelihood of engaging in risky (sometimes illegal) sexual behaviors
· Behaving out of character (i.e., becoming abnormally violent or aggressive)
All of the consequences of these and other actions have the potential to be negatively life altering for both the individual who is drinking as well as the individual who is being acted upon. These may include doing physical or emotional harm, becoming injured, going to jail, or taking or losing a life.
What’s more, young people are more prone to engage in binge drinking, which involves consuming four or five alcoholic beverages in a two-hour span. Binge drinking tends to be higher among underage consumers.
Brain development continues until an individual is into his or her 20s or 30s; for those who engage in underage drinking, this means:
· The potential for life-long brain damage
· Damage to behavior and self-control functions like memory, learning, attention, concentration, and decision-making
Underage Drinking Realities
Teens often drink in response to peer pressure or because substances are readily available. Most teens in South Walton County say that they get alcohol at home or at another person’s home. Teens also frequently get alcohol from individuals who purchase the alcohol for them.
Therefore, in order to prevent underage drinking, adults should take a leading role with young people. Talk about the very real potential hazards. Create a safe environment for young people and prevent access to alcohol. Young people need responsible adults who will help save them from the life-altering damage that can be caused by alcohol. Become informed and be a young person’s ticket to a positive, healthy future.