Underage drinking: Myth versus reality
There is a lot of information out there regarding alcohol and underage drinking – you see things on TV, in magazines, you talk to your friends and drive by billboards. Many of these sources glamorize alcohol and make it seem like everyone drinks alcohol. Those things are just not true. Let’s take a look at the reality of underage drinking.
Underage drinking myths
Myth: Everyone else is drinking alcohol
Reality: While it may seem like it, the reality is that most youth don’t drink alcohol; in fact, more than 70% of youth aged 12 to 20 haven’t had a drink in the past month.
Myth: Drinking alcohol makes you cool
Reality: There is nothing cool about the consequences of getting drunk – getting sick, making bad choices, saying and doing things you wouldn’t otherwise or becoming a burden to your friends because you can’t take care of yourself.
Myth: You will lose friends if you don’t drink alcohol
Reality: People don’t really care if you drink or not. If they do, they are not people you want to be friends with because real friends care about you and respect your decisions.
Myth: Drinking alcohol gives me courage and confidence
Reality: Yes, alcohol can have a calming effect on some people, but it even small amounts of alcohol impairs your judgment, which means you are likely to use that courage and confidence to do something you will regret like drinking and driving. Learn to be confident and courageous without alcohol.
Myth: Adults drink, so kids should be able to drink, too
Reality: Your brain is not finished growing until you are in your mid-20s and alcohol can seriously affect how your brain develops. For example, adults who had taken their first drink before age 15 were seven times more likely to experience alcohol problems as those who had not started drinking before age 21.
Myth: Parents need to teach their children responsible drinking while they are young
Reality: Yes, you and your parents need to talk about alcohol sooner rather than later, but that doesn’t mean you have to drink. In fact, your parents can get in serious trouble for serving alcohol to minors.
Myth: Alcohol is less dangerous than other drugs
Reality: Alcohol is just as dangerous as other drugs. There is a long list of diseases you can get from excessively drinking alcohol and 4,700 teens and young adults die every year due to excessive alcohol consumption.
As you can see, there is nothing glamorous about underage drinking and it is actually quite dangerous. Next time you are offered alcohol, don’t take the risk – say “no” to underage drinking.
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