Teenage Alcohol Abuse/Addiction
Dennis Markus, MSW, LCSW, C-SAC
Tracy L. Murray (Rego) MSW, LCSW, CTS
11 November 2009
The dangers of teenage alcohol abuse are underestimated in our country due to the social acceptability of the drug alcohol. The social acceptability of alcohol itself is seen by the frequency it is categorized separately from other drugs and substances when we talk about use and abuse. Alcohol is a drug but our nation and the media do not want to call it one or treat it like one. Alcohol is a legal drug abused by many teenagers and this paper will address some of the issues today’s teenagers face when dealing with alcohol. Teenagers can get involved in experimenting with alcohol in a variety of ways. Some parents allow their kids to drink at home or have a drink on special occasions like Christmas or at a wedding. Other teenagers begin drinking with their friends and experiment to get drunk. Many kids equate getting drunk with having a good time. Peer pressure can induce some teenagers to drink even when they really don’t want to. A serious problem is alcohol affects children and teenagers differently than adults and they don’t know their limits (Dolmetsch & Mauricette, 1987). In Europe the per capita consumption of alcohol is higher than here in the United States but the rate of alcohol abuse and alcoholism is lower. In Europe children are taught drinking in moderation through having a glass of wine with dinner or lunch and it is something done with the family in moderation. Here in the United States alcohol consumption under the age of 21 is illegal which makes it the forbidden fruit for teenagers and children. Unlike Europe, our children are not taught to drink alcohol in moderation and it is something to sneak off and do secretly if you are going to try it before the age of 21. This leads to misinformation and binge drinking
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