The Epidemic of Teenage Drinking
I'm currently watching Do as I Say, on ABC. Today's Episode is titled: "On the Rocks: The Epidemic of Teenage Drinking." I am actually horrified watching this program. I was one of those "good" kids, which meant that I didn't start drinking alcohol until I was 21. I remember seeing kids in my junior high school drinking beer and wine coolers before school started. They would go to the stores nearest to the school and steal them. Then they'd go to the park to drink.
My mother doesn't drink much. My father didn't either, god knows he had his other vices, but drinking wasn't one of them. My grandmother was probably the only adult that I was aware of that drank on a regular basis. She passed away almost ten years ago from an unexpected bout with cancer. It was short and I am happy that she didn't suffer from it. She was about 55 when she was gone. I digress. I only brought up my grandmother to show that she and my grandfather, when he snuck a drink or two, were the only two adults that I really ever saw have a drink.
Many of the neighborhood kids did drink. They'd go to parties and come home wasted. That was during the early nineties. Snoop Dog's "Gin and Juice" was out and it was the poison of choice amongst many of my peers. I couldn't understand what the enjoyment was of coming home and throwing up--and truth be told I was afraid of my mother's actions if I ever came home high from alcohol/narcotics. I was one of those kids that was obsessed with my future. Therefore, alcohol and drugs weren't on my agenda.
Similarly, I didn't really start drinking until I was about to turn 22. By that time I had a full time job and a college degree. I was a social drinker and have always maintained control over my behavior when I do drink.
Well I guess that's why I was horrified when watching the special. The commentators mentioned that teenagers drink to get drunk. They aren't drinking to get buzzed and they really can't regulate their level of intoxication effectively. They tend to become impulsive: violent, lascivious, etc.
Now don't think I'm being hard on teenagers. I know that adults display the same type of behavior as these teenagers. However, the show displayed the brains of teenagers that drink and those that don't. You could see the damage that the binge drinking did compared to those who didn't. The long term damages were irreparable.
Then I started thinking about teenage drinking and driving. I don't know the whole shabazz upset me. There is so much promise. To tell you the truth I don't like the message that you have to drink to have a great time, or drink to get drunk. I don't think that's a good message, for teenagers or adults. I can attest to this drinking water at parties at times and having just as much fun as I did when I did drink.
I just feel for the parents that were dealing with the children who were drinking. You saw children with straight As have severe drops in their grades. Some started acting out.
One set of parents sponsored a party where children could drink, kind of a don't ask don't tell type deal. Well they didn't regulate the party. You can guess that things went out of hand quickly. One altercation involved a drunk teen throwing gasoline on a rivals car and then setting it on fire. A girl in the car was severely burned.
I don't have an answer to fix this problem. I'm not a parent and haven't dealt with it. I saw that the show advised parents not to have alcohol in easily accessible locations, to talk to your children about the behavior that is accepted in your household, and to talk about the long term effects of drinking.
Anyway if you want to check out more of what the special had to offer take a look at the website below:
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