By Carly Harsha | Opinion Editor
Nearly 20 percent of all alcohol consumed in America is done so illegally by teenagers and children.
Binge drinking seems to be, for the most part, seasonal for teenagers. Especially now, during prom season, binge drinking becomes not only accepted but widely expected.
Students hear the same speech spoken to them repeatedly: “Do not drink, but if you decide to, be safe about it.” And yet, in 2008 alone, 190,000 people under age of 21 entered an emergency room for alcohol-related injuries.
There are a few possible reasons that this practice still occurs. One could be the environments that more and more children are being raised in. The constant, excessive amount of alcohol that many parents drink while their children are present can affect the children for life.
Children who are raised in alcohol-friendly households are mentally molded to be significantly more open-minded when it comes to alcohol. Not only do these children have psychological scars, but they nearly always end up becoming “super children.” Super children are the children and teenagers who have to help run their family, be it helping with income, food, mortgage, etc.
Another reason that teenage drinking is still so popular could be the easy access and opportunities that teenagers have to beer, hard liquor, wine, etc.
In more cases than not, teenagers ages 13-20 either have older friends, coworkers or siblings who are more than willing to buy alcohol for their younger conspirators.
After all, how else would nearly 10.4 million underage drinkers have had access to this alcohol?
The only other way this access is possible is through the use of fake IDs.
The journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research interviewed 1,000 U.S. college students under the age of 21, and found that nearly 2/3 of them had utilized a fake ID to buy alcohol at least once.
Again, the question remains: why do teenagers feel such a strong need to drink before they are legally allowed to do so?
Depending on the person, the reasons vary. It may trace back to their childhood, it might be a source of stress relief, or it might just be a personal decision.
In any case, underage drinkers need to be wary of their safety as well as the law. If someone has not been caught or hurt yet, it’s doubtful that that time won’t eventually come.