Most of us can remember how difficult and demanding high school was. In addition to the usual problems of trying to fit in, coping with schoolwork, sports pressures, homework and keeping up grades, many of today’s students also have the temptation of alcohol and its associated problems. This means either the effects of taking substances or trying to avoid peer pressure to drink.
Teen drinking statistics are startling – over seventy percent of high school students have drunk alcohol at some point; around 25 percent have even tried binge drinking, generally defined as five or more drinks. Perhaps even more frightening is that over twenty eight percent of high school students have been the passenger in a car driven by a drunk student driver.
Why do high school students drink? Many teenagers drink to fit in, to be seen as popular or cool. It is all too easy to submit to peer pressure when you are at school, whether it is drinking, smoking or getting in trouble. Alcohol is often widely available and taken for granted at many parties; along with nicotine, marijuana and various other drugs. Some students drink because one or both parents have a drinking problem and there are underlying family issues.
Unfortunately, the results of high school drinking can be devastating, sometimes fatal. Most teenagers simply cannot handle drinking alcohol and can quickly become aggressive,impulsive, moody or depressed. Most teens aren’t skillful or experienced drivers to begin with; alcohol can make their driving even worse and endanger both themselves and their passenger. One’s ability to judge perspective is impaired and mistakes can be made. The sooner a person starts to drink alcohol, the earlier they may develop liver trouble and other serious health problems.
Alcohol consumption can adversely affect a student’s course work and ultimately their end of year grades; even their ability to attend university. What isn’t as widely realized is that excessive or even occasional alcohol consumption can also affect a student’s athletic ability; in fact it is estimated that a single night of drinking can undo two weeks of training. This isn’t realized by a lot of kids and most feel invincible.
If you are a parent or teacher reading this, the best thing that you can do is to educate your student on the dangers of underage drinking. Of course, getting in trouble with the law is another area of concern that can result in probation or drug court. If you are a high school student reading this and thinking of drinking, don’t allow yourself to give in to peer pressure – it just isn’t worth it.