Wanqi Huang ENG 109 K


ENG109 K



UnderageDrinking Should Not Be Allowed

Peopleconsume alcohol for numerous reasons such as to celebration, reducepressure, anxiety, insomnia, and sadness. Teenagers and underage arecontributed to the category of these “people.” Differentcountries have different legal drinking age where some are sixteen,others is eighteen, or while others is twenty-one. Likewise,different countries have a different definition of underage group.The topic of whether to allow underage drinking is debatable.Parents, teachers, educationists, doctors, and the government urgethat underage drinking should not be allowed. On the other hand, someteenagers, sellers of alcohol, as well as alcohol fans urge thatunderage drinking should be allowed. Despite the fact that underagedrinking is illegal, teenagers still purchase it, obtain it fromtheir parents liquor cabinet, or older friends buy it for them.However, the truth is, underage drinking does not benefit teenagers’health or safety in the society.

Underagedrinking results in negative consequences for underage drinkers,their friends, families, communities, and to the society. Accordingto previous researchers, underage drinking contributes to adultdependence, alcohol-related road crashes, suicide, interpersonalviolence (rapes, assaults, and homicides), and risky sexual activity.

Ateenager who consumes alcohol is likely to become adult dependence inthe future. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism statesthat a teenage who start consuming alcohol at the age of fifteen andbelow is four times more likely to become an alcohol addict comparedto the one who start taking alcohol at the age of twenty-one (Fell25).According to doctors, underage drinking is associated withdevelopmental problems in adult life. Masten(240)found that 50% of people who consumed alcohol at underage becomeadult dependence later in life.

Underagedrinking could result in alcohol-related car accidents. According toNationalHighway Traffic Safety Administration (824),fifty percent of the car crashes involving teens indicates that theteens are usually under the influence of alcohol. Once a teenrealises he or she is drunk, they are afraid to call home to gethelp. Instead, they prefer to drive themselves therefore, cause theaccidents. Studies show that there were a high number alcohol-relatedroad crashes between 1970 and 1980 that involved the youth betweeneighteen and twenty years. As a result, the United States governmentlowered the Minimum Legal Drinking Age to eighteen. Successfully,there was 59% decrease in the road accidents caused by teens between1982 and 1998. Another research shows that two out of five deathsamong the teens in US are due to motor vehicle crash. Sadly,one-third of these deaths are because of alcohol consumption amongthe teens. In 2006, twenty-five percent of teenage drivers who diedin motor vehicle accidents had high BAC level of 0.08g/dl or evenmuch higher. Further, the research showed that seventy-seven percentteen’s drivers died as an result of motor vehicle accidents afterdrinking and driving. According to National Survey conducted in US in2003, thirty percent of teens reported to drive after consumingalcohol (Masten232).It is evident that alcohol consumption is the cause of road accidentsand its consequences among teens.

Inaddition, alcohol consumption acts as a gateway to other serious drugusages. Impaired judgment makes a teen to experiment other harddrugs. Once the teens decide alcohol use is tolerable, they may alsofeel comfortable with any other drug. According to SubstanceAbuse and Mental Health Services Admin (SAMHSA),more than fifty percent underage drinkers are also smokers. In China,there is no age limit for alcohol consumption. Likewise, most of theyouth have also turned to use hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin.This is unlike in the United States where they prohibit under sixteenteenage to consume alcohol.

Fordecades, underage drinking has been associated with poor academicperformance. Alcohol consumption is a great cause of poor performancein academics. Underage students who used alcohol will always finddifficulties to concentrate in class and other assigned activities inschool. According to Youth Risk Behaviour Surveillance system,underage drinkers are never performance in school. Actually, 50% ofunderage drinkers are below average students (Wechsler225).

Themost serious fact of underage drinking is health problem. Some of thehealth problems due to alcohol consumption include liver problems,ulcers, malnutrition, and heart problems. Some teens tend to believethat alcohol is not as harmful as other hard drugs. Actually, alcoholis harmful, and excessive consumption can lead to poisoning, andfinally death. Research suggests that underage drinking affectfunctioning and physical development of the brain. Further, theresearch shows that alcohol users have decreased ability of planning,memory, executive function, attention, and spatial operation. U.SDepartment of Health and Human Services (2) also support this findingby longitudinal analyses.

Twodays ago, I interviewed my mother on the health problem of alcohol.Being a Christian, she is very much against alcohol consumption. Shementioned all the above health problems and even gave an example ofher workmates, John, who suffered liver problem to an extent tolosing his job. Eventually, John died after using a lot of money inhospital. Besides, he left his family suffering in poverty. She alsoquoted some verses in the bible that are against alcohol consumption.

Accordingto Wechsler(236),underage drinking leads to both intentional and unintentionalinjuries and other traumas. In 2008, more than two thousand underagesuffered from unintentional injuries such as burns, drowning, falls,and poisoning. A drank person hardly works upright and, as a result,may fall down and end up hurting himself or herself. On the otherhand, a drunk underage may fall on fire and get severe burns, or fallinto a river or still water and may end up drowning. All theseactions can also lead to death. The most affected country withunintentional injuries is united states due to its high number ofunderage who takes alcohol.

Continuousunderage drinking increases the risk of sexual activity. According toU.S Department of Health and Human Services, underage drinking playsa great role in risky sexual behaviour such as unprotected,unintended, and unwanted sexual activity, rape, and sex activity withmultiple partners. These behaviours results to risk of sexuallytransmitted diseases (STDs), spread o HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies,abortions, among others (Wechsler230).In the case of pregnancy, underage drinking may result in foetalalcohol syndrome that is, a foetal alcohol spectrum disorder thatmay cause mental retardation.

Besidesthe above negative aspects of alcohol, some people still believe thatunderage drinking should be allowed. Unfortunately, they base theirargument on myths rather than facts. For instance, they reason thatdrinking is a method way to loosen up at parties and to keep cool. Onthe contrary, drinking is a silly way to loosen up. It makes the useract ridiculous and say thing that do not exist in reality. Someteenagers urge that they can take alcohol and face no problem. Incontrast, underage drinking is illegal hence, if one caught, he orshe is answerable to the law and may pay a fine, forced to takealcohol awareness classes, or perform community services. Other mythsthat alcohol users base their argument are that they can take a coldshower or drink coffee to be sober after drinking. Sadly, it takesseveral hours before a single drink leaves that body (U.S Departmentof Health and Human Services n.p). Unfortunately, some culturespermit young children to take alcohol. For instance, Chinese culturedoes not prohibit alcohol consumption to any age. There are noparties without alcohol. Interestingly, you will find parent havingfun time with their children as they take alcohol.

Itis clear from the above arguments that underage drinking does notcause any benefits, but only causes harm. Nonetheless, the rate ofunderage alcohol is still high and its only cause problems to theusers, their families, community, and the society. Therefore, it isthe responsibility of parents, teachers, doctors, educationalist, andthe government to come up with strategies to minimize or end underagedrinking.


Fell,James C. &quotExamination of the Criticisms of the Minimum LegalDrinking Age 21 Laws in the United States from a Traffic-SafetyPerspective.&quot (2008).

Masten,Ann S., et al. &quotUnderage drinking: A developmental framework.”Pediatrics&nbsp121.Supplement4 (2008): S235-S251.

NationalHighway Traffic Safety Administration. &quotTraffic safety facts:2007 data: pedestrians.&quot&nbspAnnalsof Emergency Medicine&nbsp53.6(2009): 824.

SubstanceAbuse and Mental Health Services Admin (SAMHSA), US Dept of Healthand Human Services, and United States of America. &quotReport toCongress on the Prevention and Reduction of Underage Drinking.&quot(2011).

U.SDepartment of Health and Human Services. Underage Drinking: Myths Vs.Facts. Rockville, Md.: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services,Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center forSubstance Abuse Prevention, 2010. Internet

Wechsler,Henry, et al. &quotUnderage college students` drinking behavior,access to alcohol, and the influence of deterrence policies: Findingsfrom the Harvard School of Public Health College AlcoholStudy.&quot&nbspJournalof American College Health&nbsp50.5(2002):