Teens and Alcohol
Everyday teenagers are faced with many decisions. One of the most important of these is whether or not to join in with the trend of teenage drinking. The decision teenagers make can be crucial to their future well being and success in life. Teenage drinking has many causes, namely peer pressure, the attitudes of society, parental influence, and addiction. Changes need to be made in each of these areas for teenagers to be protected from alcohol related problems.
Peer pressure strongly influences teenagers to drink. During the teenage years it is generally very important for teenagers to feel they are one of the group and that they fit in and are not different. Teenagers who feel unpopular sometimes drink alcohol to fit in, even though they may not choose to do so otherwise. One example of this is binge drinking in college fraternities and sororities.
When teenagers leave the safety of home and enter college life, they can feel very out of place. In order for them to feel that they belong when joining a fraternity or sorority, they can be pressured into binge drinking and other types of behavior that they wouldn't normally do. By doing what the fraternity brothers or sorority sisters ask them to do, they think that they are proving themselves to be worthy of a place in the organization. This can be very dangerous for many reasons. "Results from a recent Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study provide the first national picture in almost fifty years of just how widespread and harmful heavy episodic or "binge" drinking has become, not only for those students who abuse alcohol, but also for others in their immediate environment" (Wechsler, 178). Binge drinkers put themselves at high risk for many alcohol-related problems. For example, health, social and academic problems can arise from binge drinking (179). "The most troubling findings of this study reveal the impact of binge drinking on students who do not binge-the "second-hand" binge effects. It is no longer possible to view binge drinking as solely the binger's problem. Non-binging students are paying too steep a price"(180). The following are second-hand effects of binge drinking. Students effected by second-hand effects of binge drinking have reported higher incidences of being insulted or humiliated, having unwanted sexual advances, being hit, pushed or assaulted, having serious arguments, interrupted sleep or study, personal property damage or being sexually assaulted or "date raped" (181).
Please see chart below for percentages of these incidences.
"All colleges are unique; each has its own culture and traditions, resources and priorities, and relationship with the local community. But every college with a substantial proportion of binge drinkers must begin with the question 'Can we accomplish our mission and fulfill our students' goals if we tolerate behavior that compromises the quality of students'...