Underage Drinking and the Problems Beyond the Law
By Jovan Jande
Michigan, USA, July 30, 2015
In 2013, 35.1% of 15 year olds reported having tried at least one drink, according to a National survey on drug use and health. It is obvious that underage drinking is a problem that becomes increasingly prevalent as our society develops numbness to alcohol usage through excessive use and reference in daily life. The legal problems associated with this sort of behavior are obvious, however they do differ from state to state. The health problems are also well known with problems such as impaired judgment, furthered drug usage, and even death. However, there are two aspects that aren’t often looked at: the behavior reinforced by these actions, and the crowd associated with these actions; and how each of these extra problems can have an even larger effect on minors than the law.
The behavior aspect is two fold. The first portion refers to the disregard for authority, whether it be parents, guardians, or the government. The second portion refers to the actual drug usage and behaviors associated with this. The disregard for authority is a major problem associated with this form of drug usage because it recurs throughout the person’s life. If this disregard begins with the minor’s parents then a pattern of disregard develops and this can lead to many problems that only worsen the state of the underage drinker. Similarly it can ruin the state of the family life, which yet again worsens the overall condition and exaggerates the problem. The same can occur if the disregard is for the law. The obvious problem being the disregard begins to develop into blatant ignorance of the law until the law, of course, catches up to the individuals. The second portion of the behavioral issues tied to underage drinking is the actual behaviors and usage. The actual behavior, or the using of the drugs, creates its own problems all together. The first problem being the health risks that are heavily explored and studied. However, the second being the fact that it leads to future usage of other drugs. This is because the user begins to see drugs as less taboo of a subject and less of an issue. But also, the usage of the drug opens up a whole other community that only can lead to negative influences. This brings up the second issue with underage drinking: the crowd.
The crowd is an issue that isn’t often taken into consideration when discussing the long term effects of underage drinking. Considering that underage drinking is illegal and can often be paired with other forms of illicit drug usage, the crowd that individuals join can be life changing. The crowd that takes part in these illegal activities is not a positive influence, in fact they are far from it. In many cases, the crowd can further an individuals drug usage and initiate more and more illegal activity, until one of the more known consequences can occur: death, jail, or other major problems that can arise. Thus, in order to prevent long-term effects in a simple manner a parent or guardian simply needs to remove a minor’s association with that crowd. The crowd can also be used to tell if a minor is in fact underage drinking or engaging in other illegal activities, as the crowd will most likely change fairly drastically and rapidly. Similarly, the new crowd will be significantly older or clearly negative influences. The crowd, unlike behavior, can be significantly harder to pinpoint but can often have far-reaching consequences.
The legality of underage drinking and drug usage is obvious as the national drinking age is 21. Similarly, the obvious consequences are well noticed and discussed as death and permanent damage are major and even fatal problems that can arise. However, the behavior of underage drinkers and the crowd that one becomes a part of are aspects often overlooked but can have the greatest impacts on the future of the individual. While there aren’t many ways to determine whether or not someone is an underage drinker, the signs can obvious, especially when looking at two major aspects: behavior and the crowd.