By Jen Felegi –
Even though the drinking age is 21, many teens begin drinking much earlier – in high school, in fact.
SADD, an organization that focuses on information about underage drinking, said that three quarters of students consume alcohol by the end of high school. Also, it’s usually more then just a sip they consume. By eighth grade more than a third of students have consumed alcohol.
Although teens are informed in school about the risks of drinking alcohol, some would rather risk their health to be in the social crowd that enjoys drinking. Teens also know drinking alcohol is illegal but some take the chance that they won’t be arrested at a weekend party.
After talking with a handful of Penn Manor students who drink, all of them except one, said they beganat least two years earlier.
“I began drinking in eighth grade,” said one anonymous student.
Almost every student interviewed has drank or still does drink alcohol. The students who still drink began in 10th grade or earlier on. They said that their parents know they drink or believe they don’t drink very often. One student said, “My mom buys me the alcohol,” when asked if their parents know.
Other students said, “They(aka parents) know.”
“Parents knew [I] drank, but didn’t mind,” said one student who stopped drinking recently.
Only one said, “I would say it’s not ok to drink.” This student enjoys hanging out with friends and being social without the use of alcohol. Never has the student even considered drinking at all.
Some teens that drink do it so they can fit in or be cool. Others may drink to relieve stress or problems in life. Getting drunk makes the person unaware of their surroundings.
According to familydoctor.org, you can become addicted to alcohol because it is a drug. Teens may be surprised hearing that even one beer can slow down your reaction and confuse your thinking. Driving requires concentration and coordination, but after a drink it is danger to get behind the wheel.
“I did [drive] once, but it was an emergency,” said one student.
“I have a couple times,” admitted another student.
One anonymous student said, “I made bad decisions. All the problems it caused wasn’t worth it.”
Teens stop drinking when they make bad choices and begin realizing the effect partying has in their life. Some teens are able to go out and have fun without caring what others think.
“It’s not hard to go to parties and not drink,” a student insisted.
“Drinking usually can make it hard to form genuine relationships and makes it very difficult to focus on other activities,”said one teen.
Many teens don’t care that drinking is illegal and neither do their parents. They start young and are surrounded by others, the same age, doing the same activity.
A mother of a student in the high school always said to her child, “Remember you’re graduating this year and getting into college, make good choices.”