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