Dangerous myths contribute to underage drinking

| Apr 17, 2017 | Underage Drinking

When teens and preteens consume alcohol, it can lead to serious problems, both in the short run and long run because their bodies and brains are still developing. For example, it can lead to learning problems. Further, research has shown that adults who began drinking at 14 years old or younger were more likely to abuse or be dependent on alcohol in adulthood than those who didn’t begin drinking until the legal drinking age of 21 or older.

One of the main reasons that kids begin drinking alcohol before they’re old enough to do so legally is because they think that everyone else there age is. It may seem that way if all of the parties they attend have alcohol. However, it’s not as common as you may think. One study found that just 1 out of 9 kids between the ages of 12 and 17 had consumed alcohol within the past month.

That’s just one common myth that many young people believe about alcohol. Following a few more, along with the reality:

— Alcohol is less dangerous than drugs. That’s not necessarily true.

— Alcohol can cause health issues from liver disease to cancer.

— Drinking a lot within a short period can cause alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal.Beer and wine are less dangerous than hard liquor. That’s only true in that you have to consume more wine or beer to ingest the amount of alcohol found in a shot of liquor — a 5-ounce glass of wine or a 12-ounce bottle of beer. However, if you consume enough of any alcoholic beverage, you can still experience negative effects.A cold shower, a cup of coffee or a walk will help you sober up quickly. In truth, only time (about two to three hours per drink) will do that.

Besides the effects that alcohol can have on a young person’s brain and body, it can land them in legal trouble. Here in Maryland, underage drinking is only legal in a private residence and the young person’s parent or guardian must be present. A person charged with underage drinking may be assigned community service, be fined, and/or attend classes on alcohol awareness. Of course, if you’re caught drinking and driving or with an open container in a vehicle, the legal implications (not to mention the safety ones) are much more serious.

Source: Too Smart to Start, “Real Facts About Underage Drinking,” accessed April 17, 2017

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