Minors and Alcohol Short and Longterm Effects of Alcohol on Minors
Minors and Alcohol. Alcohol is a very dangerous substance. Not only does it have many short term effects, but there are serious long term effects as well. Alcohol is a depressant. It slows down the central nervous system, increases heart rate and blood pressure. Alcohol is composed of and basically is Ethanol. Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is an unstable, flammable, and colorless liquid. Alcohol (Ethanol) is one of the most common and abused drugs, and yes it is a drug. For anyone who is under 21 drinking alcohol it is illegal in all 50 states.
Underage Drinking. Nearly 81 percent of high school students have tried alcohol at some point in their lives compared with 70 percent who have smoked cigarettes and 47 percent who have used marijuana. Every year approximately 7,000 children under the age of 16 have their first drink. Why is this? Alcohol is one of the easiest drugs in terms of accessibility. 16 years of age is usually when teenagers get their license, and since they have access to a car, they can easily ask a couple of their senior friends to buy them drinks, go to parties without their parents knowing, and hitting clubs with their friends. 30 percent of alcohol related accidents are due to underage drinkers, that’s nearly 53 billion dollars in damages alone.
Short Term Effects. Alcohol can be extremely dangerous if misused and abused by minors and adults. Short term effects can include and are not limited to loss of balance, slurred speech, slowed reaction times, alcohol poisoning, vomiting, poor hand eye coordination, impaired motor skills, dizziness, hallucinations, nausea, and headaches. When minors drink excessively, coma and death may be some rare, but possible short term effects. Our liver processes alcohol, and if you drink too much our liver cannot detoxicate or process all the alcohol. Essentially what happens is that if you drink too much, our liver can’t keep up and this eventually results in liver failure.
Long Term Effects. Heavy drinking can lead to addiction or alcoholism. Long term effects of alcohol abuse are much more severe than the short term effects. Long term effects once again include but are not limited to severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, convulsions, and permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain, liver, kidneys, and heart. In addition, Cirrhosis of the liver, enlarged heart muscles- parts of your heart swells, blocking blood passages and decreasing the flow of oxygen, cardiomyopathy, diarrhea, cancer of major organs, nutritional deficiencies, and weakened immune system. Premature death is far more common with people who are or have been addicted to alcohol.
Legal Issues. DWI, or driving while impaired, is common charges minors face when drinking. If your blood alcohol levels is between .02 and .07 you can and will be arrested for DWI if you’re a minor or adult. DUI, or driving under the influence, also relates to alcohol. Again, if you’re a minor or not you will and can be arrested for DUI if your blood alcohol level is at or above .08.
When drunk driving, millions of people have been killed, not only the drunk drivers, but their victims. If you are driving drunk, you can be charged for accidental homicide and be sentenced to up to 3+ years in jail. In addition to jail time, fines, lawyer fees, and court fees can add up into the thousands.
How to Prevent Minors from Drinking. We can’t tell teenagers to not drink and expect them to obey us. The best things parents can do is talk to their children and educate them. If you have kids, just talk about it. If you don’t bring this topic up then they’ll never understand how you feel about it. If you drink at home, don’t keep beer or liquor in the fridge. That is an extremely easily accessible place where any of your kids can easily grab one. Try not to drink around your kids; your kids follow your actions believe it or not. Part of what you do impacts them. If you come home everyday and pop open a can because you’re stressed out, they’ll resort to drinking when they’re stressed out. And if you are a minor, don’t waste your life on a stupid mistake, don’t drink.
65% of youth surveyed said that they got the alcohol they drink from family and friends.
Youth who drink alcohol are 50 times more likely to use cocaine than those who never drink alcohol.
More than 18% of Americans experience alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence at some time in their lives.
Traffic crashes are the greatest single cause of death for persons aged 6–33. About 45% of these fatalities are in alcohol-related crashes.
Underage drinking costs the United States more than $58 billion every year — enough to buy every public school student a state-of-the-art computer.
Alcohol kills 6½ times more youth than all other illicit drugs combined.
Concerning the past 30 days, 50% of high school seniors report drinking, with 32% report being drunk at least once.
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