Teen Drinking

Teen Drinking
The article ?Alcohol Abuse is a Serious Problem for Teenagers,? was written by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The article states, ?Nearly four million young people suffer from alcohol dependence,? and the average age at which children begin to drink is as early as 13. The article goes on to say that the number of children who experiment with alcohol has been rising steadily over the years. The article points out the unfortunate effects of drinking which range from an array of physical illnesses like liver problems and cancer. From the article we learn that because teenagers tend to indulge in binge drinking, they are at higher risk to suffer the consequences of alcohol consumption. According to the article these consequences include developmental problems like lack of growth, a reduced ability to learn, and to psychological problems like depression and suicidal tendencies. Alcohol abuse in turn leads to social problems which include dropping out of school, robbery, and ?risky sexual behavior.? We learn that alcohol serves as a ?gateway-drug,? leading to more addictive drugs like cocaine. The article substantiates this claim by citing a study conducted by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. The article also touches on the problem of alcohol used by parents though the primary focus of this piece is about teenage drinking.
The purpose of the article is to jolt readers into an awareness of the magnitude of the problem of teenage drinkiing. Most people know that teenagers like to experiment, try the new and forbidden, but the Center assumes that no one is fully aware of how serious this problem can be if it is not addressed. Although this article does show the magnitude of the problem of teenage drinking, it doers not touch many people or clarify what we can do about it and the lack of clarity is an important factor that limits its impact. To make its point the article uses facts and statistics to prove that teenage drinking is a huge problem in the United States. We learn, ?Beer is the alcoholic beverage of choice for kids, preferred by 27% of all children,? and, ?1.1 billion cans of beer and 300 million bottles of wine coolers were consumed by junior and senior high school students.? The article also uses statistics to prove the unfortunate consequences of drinking and states, ?In 1997, 3,336 drivers 15 to 20years old died, an additional 365,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes. Almost 30% of those drivers had been drinking. The estimated economic cost of those crashes totaled $31.9 billion.? According to the article almost 25-30% of 6th graders said it would not be difficult to find hard liquor whereas only 6% said they could find marijuana. The article confirms our worst fears that as children get older it may become easier to find drugs but alcohol remains the most accessible and therefore a more serious problem for children. I felt the article would have a wider appeal if it was made more attractive for teenagers and parents alike. Although the statistics do grab the readers attention they will not hold the reader?s interest for very long unless they are backed up by anecdotes, real life examples or happenings the reader can identify with. A teenager reading this article will get bored by statistics and begin to tune out adults preaching to them about dire consequences of things teenagers see as new and exciting. Parents who read this article may not read for very long because numbers are dry, and no one wants to feel guilty about a problem that can be easily dismissed by saying, ?everybody does it,? and close the book. This is an unexpected impact this article can have unless it is made more interesting. If the article is about a teenage problem, it should be made more interesting to teenagers and parents so they will be tempted to look past the statistics into real life case
reports or anecdotal references. This article has no real life stories; nothing a teenager can identify with or relate to. It is merely a dry narration of facts that are the same kind found in text books that can be rather boring. If we tell people, ?Alcohol is the most widely used and abused drug among youth. It kills more teenagers than all other drugs combined, and is a factor in the three leading causes of death among 15-24 year olds; accidents, homicides and suicides,? we may get their attention?but teenagers and adults both need something more concrete than generalized statements such as the one above. How about a case report?

The article states, ?In 1998, 44% of 8th graders, 63% of 10th graders, and 74% of 12th graders experimented with alcohol. This compares to the 17% of 8th graders, 31% of 10th graders and 38% of 12th graders who experimented with marijuana.? The article continues to give numbers from a survey of 4.390 high school seniors and dropouts and reports, ?approximately 80% of them reported getting drunk, binge drinking, or drinking and driving within the preceding year.? Numbers alone do not have the desired impact. Teenagers feel they are invincible and nothing bad can happen to them. Parents sometimes have a ?head-in-the-sand? attitude thinking nothing bad can possible happen to their child. A good way to jolt them out of their complacency is to give real life stories of real people with normal backgrounds who had an alcohol problem. Another way to target a wider readership for this article and to attract more widespread attention is to establish a better cause and effect relationship between drinking and disease. The listing of various illnesses caused by alcohol consumption is very general and simply states that people who drink have "higher death rates from cirrhosis of the liver, cancers of the mouth, larynx, pharynx, and also breast cancer. The problem with this argument is that people who do not drink sometimes end up with breast cancer and an assortment of other problems. There has to be a clearer attempt to establish the cause and effect relationship. An examination of life styles versus genetic or environmental influences could be a starting point for a discussion followed by a number of case reports of real people in real situations. The article states, ?research suggests?? rather than saying conclusively that research proves a direct cause and effect relationship between alcohol intake and its consequences. The article focuses on the obvious?tells the readers that drinking is bad. What is the solution? The article does not offer any. What do children do when there is peer pressure to drink? Who will hear their cry for help? Perhaps that is outside the realm of this article. Is its focus then, only to state the obvious?that drinking is bad and hope that everyone will decide to abstain? The purpose of the article would be greatly enhanced if it encouraged the reader?people of all ages and genders, with some positive information. A youth center help line where youngsters can talk about their problems, a listing of sports programs and recreational activities in the community. A parents? helpline, or even just a reference to a source that would teach parents how to talk to their youngsters about alcohol abuse would be helpful. The article touches on adult drinking and talks about casa reports where, ?7 out of 10 cases of child abuse and neglect are caused or exacerbated by alcohol or other drug abuse.? The link between adult alcohol abuse and teenage drinking should be shown more clearly. The statistics in this article are an eye opener, but their purpose is only served if they are backed up by one-on-one personal accounts that would make the article more interesting for both teenagers and adults and help them work together with welfare agencies to address the problem.

Teen Drinking 9.6 of 10 on the basis of 1243 Review.