Don't make the mistake of assuming that alcohol only creates problem for adults. Even eighth-graders participate in acts of binge drinking. Despite underage drinking laws, many teenagers fall victim to the perils of alcohol, leading them to suffer from behavioural issues and a host of long-term health problems that may follow them into adulthood.
Mental and Behavioral Impairment
Underage drinking may negatively impact academic performance and hinder the brain's ability to develop fully. In addition, the younger a teenager is when first exposed to alcohol, the greater the chances of future alcoholism, which, in turn, increases the chances of unemployment and criminal behaviour. Young adults who start drinking after the age of 21 are less likely to suffer from dependence of alcohol.
Liver damage is a widely publicised side effect of drinking. However, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, teenagers who drinker may suffer from hormonal imbalances that can hinder the developmental stages of puberty.
Drinking and Driving
Car accidents are the leading cause of teenage death in the U.S. Drunken teenage drivers are likely to neglect seat belt and road safety laws, increasing the chances of injury or death. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2008, 25 per cent of young drivers who were involved in fatal car crashes were driving under the influence of alcohol. Although driving while impaired at any age is a dangerous decision, drunken drivers older than 21 are less likely to suffer a fatal crash.
According to the Federal Trade Commission's "We Don't Serve Teens" campaign, alcohol plays a role in roughly 300 cases of teenage suicides each year, mostly due to the negative effects alcohol has on individuals who are already depressed or stressed. Even if a teenager has never had suicidal thoughts, habitually drinking while upset can increase the chances of suicide.
Sexual Behavior and Rape
Drunken teenagers are more likely to participate in sex without using contraceptives. Incidents of rape also increase when alcohol is involved.
On average, 11,328 teenagers take their first drink of alcohol each day, according to the Marin Institute. Alcohol is the most abused substance by teenagers. Teenagers use it more than drugs such as marijuana and cocaine
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