Alcohol And Teens Essay Research Paper Alcohol

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Alcohol And Teens Essay, Research Paper Alcohol and Teens Saturday nights are not complete without the introduction of alcohol into most activities carried out by teens. Alcohol consumption among teens is generally not well received among adults and lawmakers, but it is a fact of life which needs to be accepted and dealt with. This paper will attempt to examine some of the causes of alcohol related problems with youth and provide some insight as to what can be done and what is being done to resolve it. In The Perils of Prohibition, Elizabeth M. Whelan discusses the current state of affairs relating to alcohol and minors in this country. “Prohibiting the sale of liquor to responsible young adults creates an atmosphere where binge drinking and alcohol abuse become a

problem.” (Whelan 169) According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, in the early months of 1998, “18 inebriated students died in alcohol-related mishaps like falling out of windows, falling into rivers, falling down flights of stairs, or simply choking on their own vomit.” (Lizza 12) A 1994 study of almost 18,000 students nationwide, conducted by Harvard psychologist Henry Wechsler, found that nearly half of the nation’s young students are binge-drinkers, meaning it’s normal for men and women to consume more than four or 5 strong drinks in one night. (12) Students who binge drink are known to damage property, have more trouble with authorities, miss classes, have hangovers, and experience injuries more often than those who do not binge drink. Binge

drinkers have been found to engage in more unplanned sexual activity as well, and to forgo safe sex practices more often than non-binge-drinking students. Little wonder that, in survey after survey, college presidents rank drinking as the number one problem on campus.(12) The most widely used policy tool in the campaign against youth and young adult alcohol abuse has been higher minimum legal drinking ages. After a downward trend in legal drinking ages beginning in 1971 when the voting age was lowered to 18, alcohol abuse among the young increased significantly. (Bennet 331) This led states, beginning with Minnesota in 1976, to start raising legal drinking ages. From 1976 to 1984, 27 other states increased their legal drinking ages. The Federal government became involved during

the Reagan Administration, which prompted Congress to pass the Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act of 1984. (331) This act forced every state to raise its minimum legal drinking age for all alcoholic beverages to 21 years. After an unsuccessful challenge to the constitutionality of the law, all states raised their drinking age to 21 by 1987. Supporters of the policy believe it has produced results. It is pointed out that in the past two decades have wielded significant progress in reducing the use and abuse of alcoholic beverages, particularly among youths and young adults. For example, heavy drinking occasions among high school seniors fell by 14% between 1981 and 1993, while binge drinking among 19 to 22 year olds not in college fell by 9%. (Chaloupka and Wechsler 112) Policy

makers have targeted youths and young adults because of their relatively high levels of alcohol abuse. For example, motor vehicle accident fatalities are the leading cause of death among persons under 35 years of age, and alcohol is involved in over half of these deaths. (112) Targeting policies at youths and young adults is felt important, since reducing excessive drinking in this population could be the most effective means to achieve long-run reductions in alcohol abuse and its consequences. A common problem with the current policy is that teens today resort to illegal methods, including the use of illegal IDs, in order to get alcohol. “At least 75% of all college students own a fake ID, and at the bars, they hardly check them,” Camel Jones, a 19-year old student at