September 2002
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Drinking on the Weekend
By Elizabeth MacKenzie, Age 18, Arnprior, ON

We drive to our favourite liquor store, one of the only ones that sells to minors. We pick up a six-pack of Corona; some wine coolers and a bottle of cheap wine.

It's just another typical Saturday night. Megan's parents are away for the weekend. Everyone heads to her house. Another weekend it's another house or the park. Drink until you're so plastered, til you can't even walk. The night sometimes starts with drinking games. Next stop, the bathroom, holding your friend's hair back while she pukes.

There have been so many instances of my friends and I completely abusing alcohol, not fully understanding, or ignoring, the devastating consequences.

"The drinking that my friends and I do definitely gets way out of hand," 17-year-old Jason says. "Even though a lot of the drinking we do is just social, sometimes people are really stupid about it and it turns serious."

A lot of teens believe that it's sealed in a bottle, sold by a government approved agency, so it's okay. We don't understand how dangerous alcohol can be. I know a lot of people, myself included, who have fears of drugs, yet, none of us fear alcohol. Why? Because we see it as safer. Unlike alcohol, we don't know where the drugs come from or what else has been mixed with them.

"Alcohol is so much more widely accepted in society, our parents drink, our older siblings drink, so we drink," 16-year-old Angela says. "Ever since we were little we saw our parents drink, but drugs, that's something we never saw our parents do. That's something way bigger, way more out there."

Alcohol doesn't have any mystery around it. When I go into a store and buy a Corona or two, I know where they have been and what is in them. This is very comforting.

"You're not inhaling it or snorting" says Christi, age 16. In my small town, it's our favourite activity on the weekly. Hey, it's not like we're drinking everyday, right! When you drink you get this excess energy and what comes next? Driving when you are drunk. "A lot of times I think I'm sober enough to drive," 18-year-old Shane says. "Then the next day I look back and realize driving was a really big mistake."

Then there are the people who decide to get in the car with someone who has been drinking. That's me. Many times I've had one too many and have gotten in the car with my designated driver who unfortunately decided to drink. Because I have no alternate way to get home, I ride with him/her.

Many teens do not fully comprehend drinking and its effects. We just accept it as a pastime and don't question it. While in actuality, drinking can have just as devastating effects on us as other drugs, but we choose not to focus on that.

Weekends are too sparse to blow without a party, Right!.

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