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Alcoholism and Its effect on Teens Erica Carrillo University of Texas at El Paso English 1311 Jennifer Falcon

2 Alcoholism and Its effect on Teens Underage drinking has been a major problem among teens and college students. It has led to alcoholism, which is what leads kids to an early grave. Teens have grown up with alcohol all our lives and it has only lead to problems. In 1920 the United States put a ban on alcohol, which led us to the Prohibition Era, people went crazy when this happened, they had secret bars where they would go to drink and would riot because they wanted alcohol back. This major point in history really goes to show how big of an impact alcohol has. History of Underage Drinking and Alcoholism Underage drinking also plays a big part in why alcoholism is so big now. Though the legal drinking age is 21, teens have started drinking as early as 12 according to a poll done by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and statistics show that, early exposure to alcoholat or before age 14is strongly associated with later alcohol abuse and dependence (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).

Figure 1: A picture showing the devastating facts of underage drinking. Kids need to realize that we too are the ones that are hurting ourselves. More than 3,000 teens die per year in alcohol related accidents, thats 3,000 teens that dont get to live out the rest of their lives; some are even innocent people that just so happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not only do thousands of teens die in an incident involving alcohol, but there are also a good number of teens who go to jail for either killing someone while they were drunk or

3 committing a crime. There are many reasons as to why there is so much underage drinking, being fresh out of high school and off to college, meeting new people, staying in dorms and the peer pressure are just some of the reasons why kids drink the way they do. Teens let the hype of the party get to us and we think that we look really cool going out to parties and getting wasted but in reality, all that is doing is creating a big problem for us in the future. Alcoholism lies within what we do while we are still young, but it can also appear when kids or teens parents have succumbed to alcoholism. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Children of alcoholics (COAs) are between 4 and 10 times more likely to become alcoholics themselves than are children who have no close relatives with alcoholism. Both teens and adults are at fault for alcoholism, though it does not happen by choice it still happens. Parents think that kids wont notice when they are drinking, but in reality parents are the biggest role models and are really the key component to stopping alcoholism and underage drinking. Its hard to beat alcoholism when you have a lot of odds pointed against you, but in reality, adults also contribute to the problem. Society tends to look past the adults but in reality, they hurt teens rather than help them. When parents give in to letting their kids throw parties, supply the alcohol or better yet when they let them try a drink they are really contributing to the drinking problem that lays within us today. Solution There are many things we can do to help prevent alcoholism in teens, and they really start at home. Weve learned that alcoholism starts comes from the parents, knowing that, parents can help both themselves and their children by not drinking as much and in some cases stop all together. Being that most teens that drink are in their first year of college there have also been cases where some university, for instance the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, has

4 talked to their freshmen during their orientation about the dangers of alcoholism and underage drinking, the University of North Texas, Denton, also has their freshmen take a course on drinking. Seeing that alcoholism and underage drinking are one of the major causes of deaths, there is also a campaign that is known as MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving that has also been know to help in the revitalization program. A mother who lost her daughter to a drunk driving accident, created MADD September 5th, 1980. The program has been going strong and is now known world wide, since MADD has been founded the number of drunk driving accidents has gone done by half since 1980. (MADD website). Another great revitalization program that helps to prevent underage drinking and alcoholism is the Every 15 Minutes Program the program gives high schools the opportunity to experience real time tragedy. The police, fire department, and coroners all participate in the make believe tragedy. They have three sections of the program. The first part has an officer that comes into the classroom of selected students reading obituary reports, after lunch they have a staged drunk driving accident where those selected students are pulled out by the jaws of life, died on scene, and taken to jail. The officers will mock death reports to the parents of the students that have died, inform the parents that their son/daughter is in jail, and will have parents come to the emergency room where they are told by the doctor that they did everything they could but their child did not make it. This program is a great tool because it really shows kids the effects of alcoholism; they get to experience it first hand, which is so helpful in preventing alcoholism.

Conclusion Through the revitalization process it is clear that there are ways to prevent alcoholism and ways to stop underage drinking. I believe that it is important to create different methods to help promote campaigns that will help put an end to underage drinking and alcoholism. It is clear that

there are programs out there demeaned to help prevent alcoholism it is just a matter of getting them broadcasted. Teens think that they are invincible and it is important that we let them know that they arent, sometimes it takes the cold hard facts and real time experiences for them to know that alcoholism is not a pretty thing. Through the great programs that are available and the resources we have now, I am confident that we can find a way to control alcoholism.

6 References Every 15 minutes.com MedicineNet. Butler, K. (2006, July 4) The Grim Neurology of Teenage Drinking. Times ENOCH, MARY-ANNE, M.D., M.R.C.G.P., and DAVID GOLDMAN, M.D.(2002, February 1). Problem Drinking and Alcoholism: Diagnosis and Treatment. 65(3):441-449. Retrieved October 6, 2013 from American Family Physician Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD. Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse. 1-12. Retrieved September 26, 2013 from MedicineNet. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD. Alcohol and Teens.1-12. Retrieved September 26, 2013 from Spear, Linda Patia, Ph.D. (2003, June) Alcohols Effects on Adolescents. Retrieved September 26, 2013 from National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2006, January) Underage Drinking. 67. Retrieved September 26, 2013 from National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.