Category Archives: Alcohol

Underage Drinking: How It Affects Your Body, Mind, & Decisions

It seems like everybody’s drinking underage these days. Teens get together on weekends at a friends house while their parents are gone, an older friend or sibling brings some alcohol, and they throw themselves a little party. That’s what all the cool kids do, right? Why should we have to wait to drink til we’re 21, what’s the big deal?

Your body and brain aren’t fully developed yet, and alcohol can seriously affect you. That’s the big deal.

Studies show that about 26% of youth between 12-20 drink regularly. As teens get older, they are more likely to start drinking. Even though drinking seems like a cool, fun social thing to do, think about the consequences. You could:

  • Get arrested: Getting an MIP is something that would go on your record. You could have to pay a fine, do community service, and/or spend some time in jail. Plus, you don’t want to have to tell future employers that you’ve been arrested.
  • Get suspended from school: Even if you’re drinking on your own time away from school, you’ve still committed a crime and your school can get involved.
  • Get suspended or kicked off of a team/club: Sports teams especially take partying and drinking very seriously. Not only does drinking affect your health and athletic ability, but most teams encourage players to be responsible and make smart decisions.
  • Get grounded: Your parents could take away privileges like playing video games, watching TV, and going out with friends.
  • Lose driving privileges: If you get caught driving under the influence, the state could take your drivers license away. Even if you don’t drive drunk, your parents could take your car keys away as punishment.

Besides the fear of getting caught and the consequences you’ll face for underage drinking, alcohol can seriously affect your brain and your entire body. Even if you feel mature enough to drink, or if you’re over 18 and a legal adult, there’s a reason the legal age for alcohol consumption is 21. For those over 21, sure, there is a healthy amount of alcohol consumption that is okay to drink before it starts affecting your body and judgment. For women it’s usually about 1 glass, for men it’s about 2. But for anyone under 21, there’s no healthy amount. Your body and brain are not fully developed until you’re in your early 20’s, and therefore alcohol can do some serious damage to nearly your entire body.

Here’s how:

  1. 100% of alcohol is absorbed into your blood stream when consumed.
  2. Alcohol can do damage to your liver, kidneys, and pancreas, especially when they aren’t fully developed.
  3. It can alter your sleep patterns.
  4. It can affect basic motor function overall, making it difficult for you to perform simple tasks like standing up or walking.
  5. It can alter your thoughts and emotions, affecting your judgment and causing you to make decisions you wouldn’t normally make.
  6. It can elevate your heart rate and blood pressure.
  7. It can cause long term damage your brain and cause you to have memory problems.

Binge drinking, or drinking large amounts of alcohol at a time, can also lead to some serious accidents. If you drive while drunk, you can kill yourself or someone else, whether it’s your friend in the car with you or a stranger on the street. You could make the decision to get in a car with someone who’s driving drunk, which could result in you getting killed. You could have unintentional sex which might even lead to an unplanned pregnancy. You might even do something reckless to kill or injure yourself or someone else.

Doesn’t it sound like it’s worth it to just wait until you’re 21?

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Smoking Alcohol: Just say no!

dry-iceYou may have heard of or seen some of your friends trying to smoke alcohol. They do this by pouring alcohol over dry ice, and as it evaporates the person literally smokes the drink. Drinkers find that this is an effective way to consume alcohol without obtaining all the calories, but what they don’t know are all the dangers that are present with this method. While smoking alcohol, one can quickly get alcohol poisoning, which could land you or your friends in the hospital in serious condition. You could easily consume too much alcohol without even realizing it.  Instead of ingesting the alcohol, it is directly absorbed by the lungs, affecting the brain. Because puking is crucial when avoiding alcohol poisoning, smoking the alcohol doesn’t allow you to get rid of the toxins. Also, this technique dries out the mouth and nasal passages, allowing them more susceptible to infection. So pretty much, if you or a friend are experimenting with smoking alcohol, stop! It is a very dangerous habit to get into and will not be worth it in the end. Smoking alcohol is nothing to play around with so just steer clear!

Grad Night Celebration!

Graduation is a time of celebration! You have now finished four years of hard classes and moving on to bigger and better things. It is a great excuse to throw a party! Now, there are many ways one can enjoy themselves on their grad night. If your school is offering a grad night party, I highly recommend going. They put a lot of time and effort into those to make them fun and exciting! You can win multiple prizes and the games and events are really entertaining. Encourage your friends to come along with you and spend one last night with the seniors you spent four years of your life with!  It is a great and safe way to end your high school career and it is well worth the money.Image

If you somehow manage to find yourself at a party with alcohol and drugs, just be wise. I know it is cliché, but do not do anything that you will regret. Be sure not to put yourself in danger by getting in a car with an intoxicated person driving. If you see someone trying to drive drunk, be a true friend and confront them or take their keys. Do not let them in that driver’s seat! Also, be responsible yourself by not driving while drunk. Remember that you do have people’s lives in your hands. A night can be drastically different if you choose to take control of your own decisions and help friends be smart also.

While there are safety precautions that need to be addressed, don’t forget that this is a night to have a good time! Enjoy being with friends and make some great memories. This is the last night of this season of your life, so go do something fun! Congratulations to all the seniors who have worked so hard to get to this point!

A Blinding Dose of Alcohol

Most people have heard of the cinnamon challenge, which is harmful in and of itself, but a new fad that our teens have been crazed about is drinking hand sanitizer to get a buzz from the alcohol. Hand sanitizer generally has a 60% alcohol content, which means that it is around 120 proof. This is quite ridiculous considering that certain vodkas contain this much alcohol.

An instant repercussion includes a trip to the ER and possible alcohol poisoning. The part in hand sanitizer that kills germs is ethyl alcohol, which is denatured just like rubbing alcohol and can even cause blindness!  This isn’t something to mess around with. As a result, hand sanitizer companies may cut down the amount of alcohol present just like cough syrup and mouthwash companies had to back in the day due to the high consumption rates from teens.

Try to help stop this harmful behavior by talking with your teens, your friends, and your school counselors. This is no laughing matter that should just be blown off because this is very harmful to your body.

Small Choices Lead to Bigger Outcomes

Even though you are young now doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take care of yourself until you are older. More often than not you will find an older adult say that if they hadn’t done such and such at a young age they would be much better now. This is actually very true and should be thought about. Taking care of yourself isn’t just a fad, it is a lifelong decision and even though you may not be able to see the reasons right now, you will later in life.

For instance, eating healthy now and regularly exercising will help you not need hip replacements when you are in your 60s.  Just look at that old lady who bleaches her hair, tans constantly, and smokes…what does she look like now? She has thinning hair, leathery skin, and has smoker’s lung.  Do you want to look like that someday, too? If something seems harmless now can give you cancer eventually, then even small, positive changes can have a drastic effect.

Youth Outreach does not promote anything that is illegal, but, before you light up, pay for that tanning pass, take that shot of alcohol, or snort crack, think about what you are doing to the future you. If you still don’t believe me, start making those small decisions in your life, for the positive of course, and see the big results you get.