Posts Tagged ‘substance abuse’

A Crack Down On Underage Drinking

July 11, 2008

The abuse of alcohol by underage drinkers has been problematic for many years due to the easy accessibility of the substance. Students who go off to college often get involved in social circles that invoke the pressure to drink in order to fit in with peers, and sadly the consequences that come from this can be dire. Maybe this is why the government has decided to implement tougher laws for underage drinkers. According to a recent study, which was funded by the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program, the harsh enforcement of state laws that make it illegal to possess or purchase alcohol if under the age of 21 has caused an 11% decrease in the number of alcohol related traffic accident deaths among youths.

Many times, underage youths will use a fake ID to try and get into bars or parties with their friends. This is especially popular during the first few years of college. A select few states that have robust fake ID laws have been toughening the monitoring of these fake IDs in recent years and because of this, these states have experienced a 7% drop in alcohol-related car fatalities for youths under 21. Although it’s not really a problem per se, the drinking legislation and fake ID rules vary by state, meaning that the percentage of accidents relating to youths and alcohol may be much higher in one state than in another. But it is up to the state to decide how many legislative options to enforce against underage drinking.

As required by the federal law passed in 1984 that rose the legal drinking age to 21, all states have enforced at least two core laws that make alcohol possession and consumption illegal for those under 21. Some states however have gone even further to help prevent the consequences that can come from underage drinking and have implemented additional measures to discourage this behavior including lowering the BAC, or blood alcohol content driving thresholds.

Underage drinking is an extremely difficult situation to keep a handle on because youths can access alcohol from a number of different sources including friends, family and even some businesses thus creating a platform that could possibly lead to addiction, health issues, or even death. It is uncertain whether or not all underage drinking can be prevented with time, but author James Fell, senior program director of traffic safety and enforcement programs with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation believes that this report on underage drinking came at the right time.

“I think the timing of this report is very good, because there are several states that are currently considering legislation to actually lower the drinking age back down to 18, either for the military or for all citizens. And this research shows that while the laws we now have cannot totally prevent underage drinking and driving, they are effective and do reduce it.”

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!

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Alcohol At Every Turn

June 27, 2008

All over the world alcohol abuse is incredibly popular amongst all different age groups. Because of this, alcohol seems to be everywhere you turn. Take for instance the genre of popular culture, i.e., the TV. It’s almost inevitable that while sitting down on a Friday night you will see a commercial that glorifies the use of alcohol. A perfect example would be the contest that Captain Morgan Rum has created. Now I may not be the best case study because I watch way more TV than I should, but I would have to say that I see that commercial at least once everyday, if not twice while I’m watching my shows. As a matter of fact, I’d have to say that the majority of commercials that grace my tube are those that relate to alcohol in some way. So what’s wrong with this picture?

The problem is that popular culture now a days has helped to desensitize the way that people view alcohol. These commercials do their best to inform the viewers that alcohol can be harmful and that it’s important to be responsible while drinking. However, the scenarios that are shown on the TV are portrayed to be fun situations. So in essence, the makers of the alcoholic product are contradicting themselves in order to make a profit. Underage drinking is still a large problem in our society, and by making these commercials readily available on mainstream television we only add more fuel to the fire. I mean, let’s be realistic. Are teenagers going to playback in their heads the warning about being responsible, or the amount of fun the actors are having as a result of the alcohol?

So what are parents doing to stop the excessive drinking of younger teens? Here in this question lies yet another problem. When my cousin started college, she wanted to have a party, which most college students want to do. My aunt and uncle knew very well that if she went to a college party with her friends that the amount of alcohol would be overflowing, and the situation could get very dangerous. In an attempt to remedy this, they offered she have the party at their house and they would provide the alcohol. I think by doing this they were hoping to control the amount of alcohol served, and also monitor the overall situation. And the truth is, many parents have this same mentality. They think that if their children drink at home, and not out in bars it will keep them away from harm, which couldn’t be more wrong. Again, this scenario shows the effects of alcohol have desensitized even parents.

Substance abuse is a growing epidemic in our country and alcohol is right up there at the top of the list of misused drugs. I have to wonder who’s to blame. Yes, it’s true we all have our own free will, but when ads, commercials, films, and music all portray alcohol to be a fun activity, can we really just say no? If you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol, there is help. All you have to do is take it.

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!