Straight Talk About Underage Drinking

Straight Talk About Underage Drinking

teen age drinkingSometimes I find ideas for blog posts and sometimes the ideas find me.  This week my inbox has been filled with stories and even one picture (see picture to the left of this blog post) about underage drinking.

Some of the stories have been downright frightening.  For example, a 15-year-old girl went to a party where she got drunk. In her impaired state she was taken from that party to another party where underage drinking was also going on.  This unfortunate 15-year-old girl was raped at the second party by a 20-year-old man.  Read the full story here.

As the mother of a 15-year-old girl I can tell my heart was pounding, my stomach in knots and tears were streaming down my face as I read this story.  It is a story of innocence lost and a parent’s worst nightmare.  No doubt this young lady never imagined a night of “fun” would turn into a lifelong trauma.

In another story parents were arrested after an underage drinking party they threw got out of hand.  These parents provided the time, place and alcohol for 43 underage drinkers to party.  As a result two 16-year-olds were taken to a local hospital to be treated for alcohol abuse.  Read the full story here.

This story just boggles my mind.  The writer tosses in some nonsense fact that “Experts say be a parent, not a friend.”  How about just being a responsible human being and not encouraging other human beings to break the law?  How about being an adult and not setting a bad example not only for your own teen but for 43 teens?

When the hell did it become ok to just ignore the law?  How hard is it to understand that all laws must be followed?   What if teen drivers decide to ignore traffic lights or signs because they don’t feel like following traffic laws?  Would a parent tell a teen it is ok to just ignore traffic lights and signs as long as the parent is in the car with the teen?  Do those examples sound ridiculous to you?  Then let me explain this to you like you’re a 2-year-old: breaking the law, is breaking the law.

Here are some facts about underage drinking from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Teens who drink alcohol are more likely to experience:

  • School problems, such as higher absence and poor or failing grades.
  • Social problems, such as fighting and lack of participation in youth activities.
  • Legal problems, such as arrest for driving or physically hurting someone while drunk.
  • Physical problems, such as hangovers or illnesses.
  • Unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity.
  • Disruption of normal growth and sexual development.
  • Physical and sexual assault.
  • Higher risk for suicide and homicide.
  • Alcohol-related car crashes and other unintentional injuries, such as burns, falls, and drowning.
  • Memory problems.
  • Abuse of other drugs.
  • Changes in brain development that may have life-long effects.
  • Death from alcohol poisoning.

As parents, as human beings, as a society, we must insist that teens follow the law and not drink until the legal age of 21.  At any age each person must drink responsibly and never ever drive while drunk.  How can something so simple be so difficult to get through to people?

Jenn Smith is the mom of a teen who hasn’t lost her mind, but frequently can’t find it. She likes AC/DC and Justin Bieber and doesn’t care who knows it! She blogs here on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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