Alcohol. the Drug of Choice Among Youth

1908 WordsJul 23, 20128 Pages
Alcohol is the drug of choice among youth. Many young people are experiencing the consequences of drinking too much, at too early an age. As a result, underage drinking is a leading public health problem in this country. Each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking; this includes about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1,600 as a result of homicides, 300 from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drownings (1–5). Yet drinking continues to be widespread among adolescents, as shown by nationwide surveys as well as studies in smaller populations. According to data from the 2005 Monitoring the Future (MTF) study, an annual survey of U.S.…show more content…
Hereditary Factors—Some of the behavioral and physiological factors that converge to increase or decrease a person’s risk for alcohol problems, including tolerance to alcohol’s effects, may be directly linked to genetics. For example, being a child of an alcoholic or having several alcoholic family members places a person at greater risk for alcohol problems. Children of alcoholics (COAs) are between 4 and 10 times more likely to become alcoholics themselves than are children who have no close relatives with alcoholism (26). COAs also are more likely to begin drinking at a young age (27) and to progress to drinking problems more quickly (9). Research shows that COAs may have subtle brain differences which could be markers for developing later alcohol problems (28). For example, using high-tech brain-imaging techniques, scientists have found that COAs have a distinctive feature in one brainwave pattern (called a P300 response) that could be a marker for later alcoholism risk (29,30). Researchers also are investigating other brainwave differences in COAs that may be present long before they begin to drink, including brainwave activity recorded during sleep (31) as well as changes in brain structure (32) and function
Open Document