Underage drinking is fast becoming a menace to society. As the adverse effects of this destructive habit are too many to count, road accidents will definitely top the chart. Underage drinking is associated with many drunk driving accidents, killing or injuring people as a result. Data collected from a drunk driving defense attorney shows that this is one such social problem which is on an increasing spree nowadays.
Underage drinking is associated with many other negative consequences like getting addicted to drugs, faring poorly in the exams, deteriorating health conditions, engaging in risky sexual habits, suffering from injuries or even death. Let us check out some statistics pertaining to underage drinking.
- 14% of the young population get involved in binge drinking.
- 7.3 million young people, who are under 21, are addicted to drinking.
- 30% of the high school students are used to alcohol on a daily basis.
- More than 4,300 kids die from alcohol-related mishaps.
Underage drinking is often associated with unplanned, unwanted and unprotected sexual activities or even sexual violence. Some factors that increase the risks of a teenager depending upon alcohol are:
- A history of emotional and social problems.
- Depression and other psychological problems.
- Family history of alcoholism.
- A broken family or constantly fighting parents.
- Peer pressure.
In spite of the ill effects associated with underage drinking, the habit continues to be widespread, as indicated by nationwide surveys and studies conducted among people in small populations.
The health risks associated with underage drinking
Whatever be the factor that leads to adolescents starting to drink, once it gets started, there are a huge number of health risks associated with it. The young people who drink heavily will put themselves at risk for a wide variety of health problems.
1. Brain effects: Alcohol affects brain development to a great extent. They have a significant impact on memory skills as well as long-term thinking. The brains of the adolescents are still in a stage of maturing and alcohol can be dangerous for the process.
2. Effects on growth and endocrine: Puberty is characterized by a marked change in the hormones, in both males and females. Drinking alcohol at this stage upsets the necessary hormonal balance for the development of bones, organs, and muscles.
3. Effects on the liver: Adolescents who drink alcohol have been found with some degree of damage in the liver.
How to prevent underage drinking?
A drunk driving defense attorney very recently showed concern about the rising cases of parents coming to them for saving their children from impending punishment. An underage drinking attorney is often the last resort of the parents in case their child is responsible for an accident on road. We have to follow certain effective tips to prevent underage drinking to root out the problem.
- Raising the alcohol price: Studies have indicated that raising alcohol prices have been able to reduce consumption of liquor. Higher taxes on the beverages have lowered the levels of alcohol-related problems, especially in young people.
- Increasing the age for minimum legal drinking: Almost all the countries in the world, have set a minimum age for legal drinking. In our country, it is 21 years. It has been found that increasing the age at which legal purchase of drinks can be allowed, has successfully reduced the rates of adolescent drinking.
- Enforcing zero-tolerance laws: Zero-tolerance laws, making illegal drinking a punishable offense, have been able to initiate a decline in underage drinking. The zero-tolerance laws have shown a greater decline in the number of night-time fatal accidents involving minor drivers. Due to the presence of zero-tolerance laws, there are fewer visits to the drug defense attorneys as well, as often underage drinkers resort to drug consumption also.
- School-based counseling programs: The schools have a great responsibility in counseling the teenagers, in staying away from alcohol abuse. They should be primarily informational and help teenagers understand the dangers of the illegal use of alcohol.
- Family support: Support from families is very crucial for educating teenagers about the adverse effects of getting addicted to underage drinking. The parents have the greatest ability to influence the lives of their children and bring them back from any harmful condition, such as underage drinking. Proper and effective communication between parents and their children is very important in this respect.
The intervention approaches for stopping underage drinking can be classified into two categories basically. The first kind would be the environmental-level intervention whereas the second one would be the individual-level intervention. Environmental interventions aim to reduce the opportunities for underage drinking whereas the individual interventions are meant for changing knowledge, attitude, and expectations. Whatever be the approaches, the youth should be encouraged to resist any kind of motivation for drinking or pro-drinking opportunities and influences surrounding them. Underage drinking is a societal menace and should be stopped as soon as possible.