Alcohol and Teen Drinking Essay

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Alcohol use among American teenagers is a problem of epidemic proportions. Alcohol is a drug -- the drug of choice of adolescents and adults. Abuse of this drug Is responsible for death and injury in automobile accidents, physical and emotional disability, loss of productivity amounting to millions of dollars annually, deterioration of academic performance, aggressive and disruptive behavior causing problems with family and friends, and individual financial ruin. It also is the primary cause of criminal behavior and a leading cause of broken homes.

Despite the problems caused to young and old by alcohol, society sends a mixed signal to its youth. The media presents beer drinking with peers as not only acceptable but almost mandatory
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While most adults drink occasionally, about 30% of adults don’t drink at all. Of those who do drink, 10% account for the 50% of the alcoholic beverages consumed (Youcha 1978) . For some groups the ideal drinking behavior is not drinking at all; for other groups moderate or infrequent drinking behavior is acceptable; for still other groups occasional heavy drinking or even frequent heavy drinking is permissible.

The media bombard the American public, particularly its young people, with the acceptability of alcoholic beverages in adult society. A report by the Scientific Analysis Corporation examined portrayal of drinking practices on television. The study showed that alcoholic beverages were the most frequently used drinks by television characters. In 225 programs 701 alcoholic drinking acts were recorded, compared to second-place tea and coffee drinking recorded in 329 cases (Royce 1981) . Television characters seldom drank water or soft drinks. Furthermore, many of the references to alcohol in the scripts were of humorous nature. These findings should be brought to the attention of the teenagers in order to help them sort out the realities of alcohol consumption from the make-believe world of television.

Drinking is viewed as an adult behavior in our society. It is promoted as a rite of passage from adolescence to adulthood. The age when young people are
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