Teen Drinking Impacts Lives

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Teen Drinking Impacts Lives

Haley Engelbrecht, student-journalist

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One of the most widely used illegal substances with youth. The spread of underage drinking is slowly rising enough to be a major health concern among them.

At Clairemont High School (CHS), students have various ways to get alcoholic beverages such as using fake identification cards, contacting ‘plugs’, and stealing.  

Juveniles illegally purchase alcoholic beverages.

A sophomore who spoke on the condition of anonymity said,“I give money to a person with a fake ID to get alcohol.”

Older siblings, friends, and even parents help provide the liquor being held in flasks and water bottles.

Local news station San Diego News 8 reports that “Hundreds of retailers across the country are using Age ID to tell a valid ID from the counterfeit. The app which uses a smartphone camera to scan the barcode can read the card’s encrypted security data to verify its authenticity.”

Kids can be particularly clever about getting the things they want.

A senior who has asked to remain anonymous said, “Usually, my friends have alcohol from stealing it from liquor stores so I just bring money to pitch in.”

The rates of teen DUI’s, driving while impaired, and car crashes are inching up higher and higher each year in the city. Online website Insurify Insights reports that San Diego is the 8th most dangerous city in the state for drinking and driving with 2.56% of drivers with DUI’s and 29% of traffic fatalities involving alcohol.

San Diego police officer Robert Heims said, “A 16-year-old boy suspected of driving drunk in the Mountain View community of San Diego crashed a car into a wall this morning critically injuring his passenger, a 15-year-old boy. Another passenger, a 16-year-old boy, was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.”

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, someone dies from a drunk driving accident every 50 minutes which adds up to 29 fatalities a day.

In California, underage drinking is costing billions of dollars for teen alcohol treatment.

“San Diegans should be alarmed at the amount of money coming out of their pocketbooks as a result of underage drinking… more than $1,800 per year per youth,” said San Diego County’s Alcohol Policy Panel member Beth Sise.

Educational substance research website, Kids Health reports that heavy binge drinking, especially for young adolescents, can cause fatty liver, cirrhosis, heart failure, loss of brain cells and delayed reaction time.

If kids start ingesting alcoholic beverages heavily in their young years, there is a very high risk of alcoholism and health problems in adulthood.  

Health awareness website National Health Service (NHS) reports, “Beginning to drink before age 14 is associated with increased health risks, including alcohol-related injuries, involvement in violence, and suicidal thoughts and attempts.”

Receiving love and compassion from guardians is recommended for teens everywhere. Coming home to lectures and yelling repeatedly from accusations can crush spirits and fun self-esteem.

Sophomore Erin Murphy said, “When being lectured, I feel like I have done something completely wrong but having a calm conversation keeps me calm and gives me the idea that I’m able to fix whatever mistake I have made.”

More calm conversations can lead to better trust and fewer secrets toward the parents. They should avoid excessive preaching and threats, professing love and compassion will comfort the child more.

High school can be the time to figure out oneself, strive to be a successful person and who the right friends are. But while going through teen years, peer pressure is a major part of learning how to stay away from dangerous substances to go down the right path.

CHS security guard Robert Dean explains that “There’s different reasons why teens drink. Some kids come from bad homes, some kids are depressed, some kids do it for fun, some kids do it with their friends, it just depends on the person.”

The very few cases at CHS of alcohol reports have been scary but dealt with. Chronicles include students’ tipsiness and wobbling as a walk, giggling and unable to stand.

Sophomore Cameron McAvin said, “I have witnessed a few underclassmen, mainly with slurred speech and reek of alcohol. Sometimes even stumbling around or raising their voice to draw attention.”

Many students have personal, relationship or family problems that can be new to them and overwhelming.

“Most of the kids I’ve talked to are dealing with situations and don’t know how to handle it, so it leads to booze, most likely from watching their parents or somebody close to them. I think one way we can help is when we find out that kids are doing it that we need to find medical and professional help so we can get to the bottom of it. Suspending them isn’t always the answer because it can allow them to drink at home. I think counseling can get to the root of the problem and get to the heart of it. It’s tough sometimes talking about things that you don’t want to talk about but it’s important in growing up that they kick it because it has destroyed people,” added Mr. Dean.

CHS wants to further help pupils if they are going through tough times and do not do the right thing to take care of their feelings. Giving them extra counseling and daily guidance will help build confidence and decrease the chances of harmful choices.