Youth Drinking in America

Youth Drinking in America

The underage consumption of alcohol is a major obstacle in America. Current statistics show 35 percent of all wine coolers and 1.1 billion cans of beer are consumed each year by underage, illegal drinkers (Novello 455). Possibly the hardest fact to stomach is that children "believe drinking is the thing to do" (Benenson 38). Parents, educators, legislators, and lawmakers previously thought that peer pressure was to blame, however, that is no longer the issue. Underage drinking in America is primarily the cause of children trying to fit in (also known as social drinking), advertising that is aimed at underage drinkers, and inherited traits/genetics. We must understand that alcohol abuse is no longer 'just another little problem.' One source went as far to say, "From fourth grade on, alcohol is the number one drug" (Olinger 1D). Social drinking is one of the major reasons for the downfall of today's youth.

Growing up is hard. Children have to deal with the emotional and physical changes that come with puberty, as well as constant pressures from the media, school, and their parents. Unfortunately, in trying to fit in, many of these children resort to using alcohol. Some view alcohol "as a rite of passage" (Benenson 35). Children feel that if they drink, their peers will accept them. "Students believe drinking is the thing to do"; they desire to follow the example of adults and drink to be social (Benenson 38). Geoff, a recovering alcoholic, stated that he "started drinking when he was a high-school junior." He was "lonely and desperate to be accepted" (qtd. in Benenson 41). Tracy Barry, a straight-A student, shared her philosophy on drinking: "The more you can drink, it's almost a status kin...

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