The Dangers of Underage Drinking And What’s Being Done to Help

Alcohol abuse is constant problem across the United States. Not only are many adults’ lives being drastically altered by alcohol addiction, but underage teenage drinking remains a problem of epidemic proportions.

Roughly 18% of all men over the age of 18 years old have had five or more alcoholic beverages in a single day at least once in the past year. And, unfortunately, many young adults engage in binge drinking a lot more frequently.

Luckily, there are plenty of groups and organizations around the country that are fighting alcohol addiction and helping teens make smart decisions.

According to FOX 13, Olympic athletes from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team are partnering with a charitable organization called Parents Empowered to help fight and prevent underage drinking.

“Alcohol has destroyed and will destroy a lot of people’s dreams,” said a member of the partnership.

Parents Empowered has spent the last decade speaking out about the dangers of underage drinking, and the group has done numerous studies on the matter.

In one study, the organization found that roughly 67% of all kids who consume alcoholic beverages before the age of 15 end up trying other illicit drugs, too. Unfortunately, parent involvement, which is crucial to preventing addiction issues, often comes too early. While that may seem counterintuitive, parental involvement cuts in half between 6th and 12th grades when many young people start drinking.

Although experimenting with alcohol can lead to other substance abuse issues, it can also cause immediate physical and mental trauma. As the Addiction Center reports, since teens’ impulse control has not yet fully matured, they are particularly vulnerable to some of the extreme damages of alcohol abuse, including:

Brain Damage — Researchers believe that adolescence binge drinking can seriously impair brain function later in life. Heavy drinking can negatively impact memory, coordination, and motor skills.

Car Crashes — Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. Driving can be dangerous no matter the conditions, as even a single imperfection in a car’s windshield, which accounts for up to 35% of the structural integrity of the vehicle, can severely limit visibility. In addition to constant dangers like that, distracted driving and alcohol contribute to many accidents involving teen drivers. In fact, alcohol is one of the major contributing factors in fatal accidents, especially among young people. Roughly 25% of all fatal auto accidents involving teens were caused by underage drinking.

Assaults and Sexual Abuse — Teens who drink heavily have been found to be involved in many more sexual assaults and physical altercations than their sober peers. Additionally, young people who consistently drink are less likely to use protection during sex.

There are more than 14.3 million tons of donated American textiles used to help clothe struggling people and families across the world In addition, there are plenty of organizations that are doing their best to help at-risk kids fight their addiction to drugs and alcohol.

In Minnesota, the Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge received a $20,000 from the state’s annual Breezy Point 5k. Teens participating in the long-term Challenge programs live on campus for 13 weeks, learning how to free themselves from drugs and alcohol.

“Those dollars are helping men find recovery, find restoration and get plugged back into society and be contributing members of society,” said Seth Currier, Center Director for the Adult and Teen Challenge.

Additionally, the Whidbey News-Times reports that new health clinics are also coming to the aid of alcohol dependent youth.

Ryan’s House for Youth has opened a new health clinic aimed at preventive and minor medical care for at-risk and homeless youth.

“[The clinic is] opening with the thought that if kids are falling through the cracks, we’re here,” added Theresa Granger, Family nurse practitioner at the new clinic. “We don’t bill insurance but accept good-will donations.”

If you’re a teenager or know one who is struggling with addiction or alcohol abuse issues, talk to someone and get professional and medical help right away.

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