Youth Drinking and Alcohol Abuse

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YOUTH DRINKING AND ALCOHOL ABUSE

Going out on a Friday night in highschool almost always seems to be accompanied by alcohol. In 2003 the proportion of grade 12 students who admitted drinking an alcoholic beverage in the past 30 days was 48%, while 1 in 10 students drink atleast once a week. My question is, why does alcohol have to become such a large part of the highschool social circle? And, are any of these kids really aware of the effects of youth onset alcohol abuse and the effects of alcohol on the body?

First, how does alcohol effect the body? Alcohol is a drug, consumed in drinks, that is absorbed into the bloodstream from the stomach and small intestine. It is broken down by the liver and then eliminated from the body. Now that all seems simple, and not very harmful, so let's break it down further and really explain how your body works, starting at the liver. Your liver is limitated on how fast it can break down alcohol and this process cannot be sped up. Until the liver has enough time to break down all of the alcohol, the alcohol continues to circulate in the bloodstream, affecting all of the body's organs, including the brain. As alcohol reaches the brain, you'll begin to feel intoxicated or “drunk”. This feeling varies from one person to the next, and one situation to the next. But, in all situations, alcohol depresses the nervous system in the brain and acts like a sedative that slows down muscle coordination, reflexes, movement and speech. If you drink too much alcohol, your breathing or heart rate can reach dangerously low levels or even stop. This most obviously can result in death. These are just the effects of one night of casual to binge drinking, nevermind the dangers of prolonged alcohol abuse.
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