The Effects of Underage Drinking and Driving While Under the Influence
November 27, 2012
Underage drinking is one of the biggest problems in society today (“Enforcing”). Throughout childhood, the brain is making changes that assist in planning, decision making, controlling impulses, memory, speech and also how the body responds to drugs and alcohol (“NIAAA”). Not only does underage drinking cause problems with brain development and unprotected sex, but it also causes various fatalities. The purpose for this research is to help prevent underage drinking and driving while under the influence of alcohol and to reduce the number of fatalities not only in Volusia County but also throughout the United States. According to the West Volusia Beacon, bars and restaurants in downtown Deland were caught selling to people under the age of 21. Since then, the City Commission has passed an ordinance to penalize any bar or restaurant that is caught with five or more people under the age of 21 inside their facility after nine o’clock within a three month period, or if there are five or more people who are underage caught with a drink in their hand. Bar and restaurant owners agree that underage drinking has a negative effect on their business. Older folk don’t want to be surrounded by a college “frat-boy” atmosphere and that is why they stay away from the downtown area. Officials believe that if penalties are executed and enforced the right way that is the only way this ordinance will work (Horton). Nationally, making new laws and better enforcing older laws by using the EUDL (Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws) have helped prevent underage drinking. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Congress created this program in 1998 along with the MLDA-21 and Zero Tolerance Laws, which prohibit the sale and possession of alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. These laws also help prevent the amount of drivers on the road with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level of .08 and above which has significantly decreased the number of fatal car accidents by a combined 58 percent (“Enforcing”). Other laws prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from altering or borrowing from a driver’s license from someone to make it appear as if they are 21, carry alcohol in their car or on their body on any street, highway or public place or be in a bar while under the influence of alcohol. A program called the “Midwestern Prevention Program” combines strategies to help educate children of how harmful drugs and alcohol can be, how to identify social encounters where drugs and alcohol may be involved and how to avoid such situations through extracurricular activities, the amount of alcohol advertising children are exposed to, prevention programs where both families and the community are involved and changing and creating new policies such as the minimum drinking age and other laws (“Other Laws”). The survey conducted with the students at Deland High School gives a general estimate of how often teenagers in high school consume alcohol, where they get alcohol from, if their parents support their drinking habits, if they drive after drinking and includes a written response from the teenagers about the reasons behind why they drink. The conclusion made from the survey is that most children are likely to try alcohol or drink regularly while in high school. However, it is their parents who have an overall effect on how much their children drink. These results show that more study should be conducted on the overall effects and experiences caused by underage drinking.
As the years have passed, underage drinking has become a bigger and bigger problem. Nationwide there are an estimated 10.8 million underage drinkers. Forty percent of those 10.8 million were provided free alcohol by someone 21 or older. Annually, 15 percent of the total alcohol consumed in the United States is consumed by...
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