Teenage Alcoholism

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Teenagers today have no idea what alcoholism really is. They think that they can never become alcoholics. They think that it could never happen to them, but they are wrong. Stress, Family problems and the desire to be popular are wrong the cause of teenage alcoholism. Signs that a teenager has a drinking problem and steps that parents can take to help their child are what I will discuss in this paper.

The critical ingredient common to all alcoholic beverages is ethyl alcohol or ethanol ( Lang 21). It is a clear, tasteless liquid formed through the fermentation of sugars by yeast spores ( Lang 21). The amount of alcohol produced depends on the type and amount of sugar in the original mixture, the type of yeast used, the temperature maintained during the fermentation process. American beers, which contain about 3% to 6% alcohol, are made from malted barley and hops (he ripened and dried cones of the hop plant). Most wines are made by fermenting grapes or berries, and normally reach a maximum of about 15% alcohol. Though they are sometimes fortifies with additional ethanol alcohol and thus may reach 20% alcohol in cherry or port wines.

Teenage years are filled with unsure time. Intense pressure to perform and succeed are felt by many youths, according to Alliant Health Systems, Louisville, Ky. Perceived failure at home and or school can lead to the need for escape. Teenagers often see their parents react to stress by drinking. This providing and example for them. They also see their favorite movie actors or actresses getting drunk when they go to a movie so they think that it's OK for them to o it but what they don't know it really hurts them in the long run. With their parents, the might being having marital problems and that can usually drive a teenager to drink. The desire to be accepted and popular among their friends encourages many to begin drinking as well. The ability to consume a lot of alcohol is associated with being a "real man or woman" ( Lang 23). When teens see adults drink heavily and movie stars on screen getting drunk, the message that gets through is that "it's cool to drink" which is the wrong one to be sending. Almost one half (47.9 %) of seniors drink alcohol at least once a month 19.8 % drink at least once a week. Nearly one third (30.7%) of ninth graders drink some kind of alcohol monthly or more often 12% drink at least once a week. Thirteen (13.2%) of seventh graders and 6.6% of sixth graders drink alcohol regularly. Regular use of alcohol has no changed significantly since the first survey in 1989. (Casey 1).

Crime is inextricably related to alcohol and other drugs (AOD). More than 1.1 million annual arrests for illicit drug violations, almost 1.4 million arrests for driving while intoxicated, 480,000 arrests for liquor law violations and 704,000 arrests for drunkenness come to a total of 4.3 million arrests for alcohol and other drug statutory crimes. That total accounts for over one-third of all arrests in this country. ( Lang 33) The impaired judgment and violence induced by alcohol contribute to alcohol-related crime. Rapes, fights, and assaults leading to injury, manslaughter, and homicide often are linked with alcohol because the perpetrator, the victim, or both were drinking. The economic cost of AOD-related crime is $61.8 billion annually. Many perpetrators of violent crime were also using illicit drugs. Some of these drugs, such as PCP and steroids, may induce violence. These drugs can also be a catalyst for aggressive-prone individuals who exhibit violent behavior as a result of taking them.

The need for preventing alcohol and other drug problems is clear when the
following statistics are examined:

- Alcohol is a key factor in up to 68 percent of manslaughters, 62 percent of assaults, 54 percent of murders/attempted murders, 48 percent of robberies, and 44 percent of burglaries.
- Among jail inmates, 42.2 percent of those convicted of rape reported being under the influence of alcohol or alcohol and other drugs at the time of the offense.[5]
- Over 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women arrested for property crimes (burglary, larceny, and robbery) in 1990, who were voluntarily tested, tested positive for illicit drug use.
- In 1987, 64 percent of all reported child abuse and neglect cases in New York