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It’s Just Alcohol, I Can Handle It..Right?

Hey guys! Merry Christmas, (Happy Hanukah) and Happy New Year! I wish you all the best for 2015. One thing I’d like you all to keep in mind as we go into this New Year is the troubling trend in underage drinking. Now, I understand there are a lot of counter arguments about this, with many pushing for lowering the drinking age and what not, but we should really think about this one. I personally don’t think alcohol should ever be consumed. It’s a dangerous line to cross. Many people argue moderation, and that’s a great point, but if you draw the line at never drinking, you won’t ever have to be concerned with figuring out how much is too much. Besides that, it’s expensive. That’s not my point for today, but I thought I would just interject my thoughts on that. (And no, if you do drink alcohol I don’t hate you, or think ill of you, or think I’m better than you, promise! J)
            Another thought I’d like you to consider is that just because something is legal, doesn’t mean that it is good or safe to do. We have gotten this idea that because the government says we can do something that must certainly mean that it’s OK. I hate to burst any bubbles, but that’s just not true. Even worse though, we have also developed an attitude that if our parents or anyone else in authority DOESN’T say something is wrong, that it must be ok or safe. Again, a false, and dangerous, perception.
            I also want you to know that I understand wanting to have fun, and thinking your parents are fuddy duddies who just want to ruin your life. I know many times you feel misunderstood and ignored. The truth is, even though you may feel this way, and you may in fact be misunderstood and ignored, it’s always a good and wise decision to listen to what those in authority over you have to say. Understand that it isn’t how much knowledge you have or don’t have, but life experiences that makes the difference as far as sound decision making goes. That’s why sometimes it seems like you are being treated like you know nothing. It isn’t that your parents think you are stupid or uneducable, but they know that, like themselves at your age, you just don’t have the experience that they do.
            I said all this so that you understand exactly where I’m coming from. Underage drinking is bad…really bad. There were a few angles I could do with this, but I figured facts are usually the best proof one can have. So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to throw some facts at you today, I hope that you will seriously consider this.
            Alcohol is actually the most abused drug for people under the age of 21. It gets worse the younger that you start. It’s been found that by age 15, 50% of teens have had a drink of alcohol, and that by 18, more than 70% have drunk alcohol, with 90% of that alcohol having been consumed by binge drinking. It’s been shown by studies that if you start at or before age 15, you are at a greater risk, five times greater, to develop alcohol dependency than people who wait until they are 21. It makes a difference!
 In 2010, there were 189,000 emergency rooms visits for people under 21 caused by alcohol. One hundred eighty nine THOUSAND!!!! Here’s another doozy! In 2009, approximately 10.4 million young people aged 12-20 consumed more than what was phrased by the study as “couple sips of alcohol.” Also, guess what, during a recent study, 10% of these teens drove after they drank. They drove you guys! This is not ok! This is a big deal! We cannot continue down the road of “oh, that’ll never happen to me.” It can happen and it probably will happen. Five thousand young people die every year from alcohol related crashes, homicides, accidents, and the like.
Even if none of this physical harm or death happens to you, there are other serious affects to consider. Scientific research into the brain has shown us that we still have considerable brain development into our twenties. If we start to drink before we even hit 21, we are going to do some damage to the process. The more you drink, the worse it will be. You can develop memory problems and long lasting mental problems. Alcohol consumption also greatly harms academic performance. This will hurt your future. If you make some bad decisions in high school that effect your grades and what you learn, but later you want to go to college, that’s something that is going to follow you. Our choices have consequences, even if they are not immediate, always keep that in mind.
There are just a couple more serious effects I’d like you to think about, sexual assault and suicide. These two things are very important to us here at TOA. These are two things we would love to see vanish forever! Both of those things increase among teens who drink. The risk of being sexually assaulted, and the risk of committing suicide. Alcohol messes with your brain guys, makes you think and do things that you didn’t ever think you might do. It also makes you extremely vulnerable to everyone around. Not everyone around you has your best interest at heart.
Remember friends, we are all susceptible. I’m know better than you or at any less risk. Everyone is tempted to do things that are bad. Keep in mind that everything you do effects everyone around you. While you might think that what you do only hurts you, it doesn’t. Think of your family, friends, and those you have influence over. Also, keep an eye on your friends. Help each other make good decisions. Maybe make a pact with your friends, that none of you will touch alcohol until you are 21, then help one another keep it. You won’t regret it, and you will be all the better for it. Besides that, who said you HAD to have alcohol to have “fun.” Vomiting into the toilet and having a hangover are not what I would call fun, and I have a feeling you don’t think that’s fun either. Let’s make a change, starting now, and maybe we can make a larger, long lasted impact. A world without underage drinking is a world that is safer and healthier, especially for you. Take it easy and be safe. See ya around!

*Statistics taken from and
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