Teen Drinking

I.J. Samson Junior High
St. John's, Newfoundland

By April L. (Grade 9)

It's the weekend and it's time to have some fun. What does it mean to have fun these days? While for some teens it means going out to a movie with a couple of friends, for many others it means going out and getting drunk. According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan, over 66% of all 13-year-olds have tried alcohol, and by their senior year, 90% of all 17-year-olds have already had a drink.

If you asked teens why they drank they would probably say "peer pressure" but the real reason is probably because they want to drink. Teens drink for many other reasons, as well. They are upset or stressed out so they turn to drinking to solve their problems. Why try to solve your problems when you can just drink them away? They are bored when they have no interests outside of school. Life can get awfully boring when this happens, so many people turn to drinking to have a good time. Another reason is that their parents drink, and we all know that if our parents do it then it must be O.K. Many teens drink out of curiosity for the first few times, and then decide that they like it so they don't stop. I asked three different teens why they drink. Emily, a grade 7 student said, "I drink because I want to, it tastes good and it's cool. I started to drink in grade 6 because I wanted to."

Alex, also a grade 9 student, told me, "I drink for fun and I started to drink in grade 7 because I wanted to, and I liked it so much I never gave it up." Another grade 9 student, Erica, said, "I drink cause it's fun. I first tried drinking in grade 6 because all my friends were."

Drinking is the number one problem among teens, which is amazing since it's illegal for teens to drink. You may wonder how many teens get their alcohol, but there are a number of ways they do it. One is that some stores will sell it to you thinking that they will make a bit of money and not get caught doing it. Sometimes if you ask someone on the street they will buy the alcohol for you if you say you will give them a couple of dollars or a beer for doing it. I asked Emily how she got her alcohol and she told me, "Some of my friends look old enough to buy it, so they get the alcohol for me."

Although people don't realize it, drinking causes many serious problems. I asked different teens how often they drink. Paige, a grade 9 student said, "Twice a week "

Mike said, "I only drink once or twice a month."

Alex replied, "I usually drink for the whole weekend and everyday in the summer."

People claim that drinking is fun but it is actually a depressant and is a known factor in many teen suicides. Rape and unprotected sex are two other serious problems related to drinking. In over 90% of all rapes reported, at least one of the parties involved was under the influence of alcohol. Researchers have also found that, if you have been drinking, you are more likely to have unprotected sex.

Another very common problem is drunk driving. When you drink you don't usually think, and when you drive you can cause car accidents.

Maybe this is all just a fad of the 90's and will end in the next century. Maybe, one day, more people will go to movies with their friends and not go out to get drunk.

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