Youth Drinking in America

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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... ... middle of paper ... ...1-44. Novello, Antonia C. "Alcohol and Kids: Time for Candor." Christian Science Monitor. Jun. 1992: 19-21. - - -. Vital Speeches of The Day. New York: White Westinghouse, 1993. Olinger, David. "Children at the Crossroads." St. Petersburg Times 25 Jun. 1989. Morning ed.: 1D+. Peele, Stanton and DeGrandpre, Richard. "My Genes Made Me Do It." Psychology Today (1995): 50+. "Research Turns Up Genetic Clue to Alcoholism." CNN World News 31 May 1996. (3 Nov. 1998). Scream. Writ. and Dir. Wes Craven. Perf. Drew Berrymore, Neve Campbell, and Courtney Cox. Dimension, 1996. Sebelius, Steve. "D.A.R.E.: Does It Work? Anti-Drug Program Faces Scrutiny." Las Vegas Review-Journal and Sun 1 May 1994, late ed.: 1D+. "Selling to Children." Consumer Reports Aug. 1990: 518-521. Sowell, Jody. "College Binge." Dallas Morning News 19 Mar. 1996. Morning ed.: 18A-19A.

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