Alcohol and American YouthUnderage drinking is a hidden problem of modern society that affects young people and adults alike. It is a problem which in the past few years has been slowly forgotten. Today, we concentrate our attention on fighting against tobacco and drugs, and forget that alcohol is most popular and dangerous drug that effect behavior and personality of the drinker. Drinking alcohol at the young age may impair the functioning of the immune system and increases the risk of developing certain diseases.
Underage drinking could cause serious side effects, like brain damage, because teenagerÃÂs brain is still maturing. This process gets accomplished at ages 20-21. According to study ÃÂYoung Brains on Alcohol,ÃÂ scientists found that consumption of alcohol at the developmental stage of the brain could lead to:ÃÂ Memory LossÃÂ Confusion, DisorganizationÃÂ Hallucinations, FitsÃÂ Permanent brain damageÃÂ Impaired ability to learn new thingsUnderage drinking increases the number of alcohol related car accidents.
According to one study, approximately seventeen thousand people died last year from motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol. Twenty seven percent of those deaths were teens, killed by other teens. These incidents make alcohol the fifth leading cause of death in the country.
The earlier young people start drinking, the greater the chances to develop alcohol dependence. Research done by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) in 1998 showed that youth who drank before age fifteen were four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence, also known as alcoholism, than those who began drinking at age twenty-one.
What should be done?Federal FundingIf the government focused more of the budget on educating our youth on the harms of underage drinking and on law enforcement to penalize offenders of underage drinking, the societal costs would most likely decline, saving Americans millions, if not billions of dollars.