Charleston child injury lawyers recently took notice of a study released by The Partnership at Drugfree. The study’s finding were quite astonishing, and a bit disturbing, teens today see downing 5 or more alcoholic drinks almost every day as not a big deal. When teens were asked if they see a “great risk” in consuming that amount of alcohol on regular basis, 45 percent of the teen respondents didn’t see it as a big problem.
While this study shows that today’s teens do not view heavy drinking as a serious threat, the percentage of teens drinking is actually on the decline. An article on the study reported by the Post and Courier quotes the former chairman of the American Medical Association as saying, “It’s important that we not lose sight of the progress our country has made in fighting underage drinking,” and, “U.S. government data shows underage drinking and binge drinking are at record low levels.”
But, even with this progress, the car accident attorneys at Howell and Christmas, being parents themselves, want to stress the importance of being involved with your children as a means of protecting your child from destructive behavior. The earlier kids start drinking the more likely they are to get involved in other unsafe behaviors.
Teens that start drinking early are more likely continue to do so once they get their driver’s license, heightening the possibility for them to be involved drunk driving accidents. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, automobile accidents are the leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 20, and about 1,900 people under the age of 21 die each year from accidents involving drinking and driving.
While drinking and driving is the number one cause of teen deaths, what is the leading cause of teens starting to drink, before they get behind the wheel of car, and before they even have a driver’s license? According to the study by Partnership at Drugfree, the top reasons are “because it is fun,” and, “so they won’t feel left out.”
What we often forget is that the way alcohol is presented, whether it be by parents or TV commercials, makes drinking look like an extremely fun and cool activity. And while alcohol, when enjoyed responsibly by of age adults, can be fun, it is important to stress the damaging effects alcohol can have to young teens, as well as the long list of potential problems alcohol abuse causes later in life.
Another common risk that faces adolescent drinkers is the possibility of getting involved in sexual activity. Not only are teen drinkers more likely to engage in risky sexual activities, like having sex with someone they don’t know or failing to use birth control, they are more susceptible to be a victim of sexual abuse and/or rape.