It is no surprise that teenagers come up with inventive ways to sneak things past their parents and other authority figures. However, in order to protect children, it is important to stay informed on the possible techniques that teenagers use, and stay informed regarding the different ways to tell if a teenager is abusing alcohol.
Alcohol is one of the most common substances abused by teenagers, likely because it is so easy to obtain. Alcohol often already in the home is usually what children will take when they want to experiment with drinking. Keeping tabs on alcohol stocks is one way to ensure that that children are not stealing the beverages, but experts have gotten together to come up with other warning signs and possible ways that teenagers hide alcohol use.
This generation of teenagers is more adept on the internet than ever before. Nowadays there are several videos on Youtube and other websites that lay out step-by-step instructions on how to get away with drinking alcohol while in school. Monitoring what websites teenagers visit is a good way of knowing if they are involved in this type of activity.
In addition to guides on how to drink alcohol in school, the internet is full of other ways to consume alcohol, oftentimes with the goal to do it under the noses of parents, teachers and law enforcement. Children can search the internet for recipes on how to infuse gummy bears with alcohol, how to in inhale alcohol or how to make alcohol infused popsicles.
While teenagers may find tricky ways to get away with consuming alcohol, it is not likely that they will be able to hide the fact that they are drunk. Alcohol on the breath or clothes is a common indicator that a person has been drinking. Additionally, if parents notice that their child’s behavior is different all of a sudden they might be dealing with an alcohol or drug issue. Alcohol affects teenagers in the same ways that it affects adults; vomiting, talking loudly, extreme emotions, loss of balance and slurred speech are all signs that alcohol may have been ingested.
Many parents have let their children have sips of alcohol, usually in an attempt to satisfy their curiosity and to show that the taste is not pleasant. Prior to that, infants have had alcohol rubbed on their gums to numb their teething discomfort, but in neither case are parents attempting to get their children to want to drink. While most people would assume that allowing a child to try a sip of alcohol is not doing any harm, experts agree that it is likely sending the wrong message to impressionable children.
“I would say that it is advisable not to offer your child a sip of your beverage, as it may send the wrong message – younger teens and tweens may be unable to understand the difference between drinking a sip and drinking one or more drinks,” explained Kristina Jackson, one of the co-authors of the study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
Researchers who conducted the study compiled data from surveys taken of 561 children in middle school. They found that of all the kids who admitted to sipping alcohol before the sixth grade, 26 percent of them had their first full glass of alcohol before the ninth grade. The children who had never sipped alcohol were much less likely to drink, as only six percent of them had consumed a glass of alcohol by the time they entered high school.
In 2008, a similar study indicated that allowing children to sip alcohol at a young age decreased the likelihood of further underage drinking. Researchers have since realized that that study compared different groups of children. They found that the researchers in the early study compared children who got alcohol from parents and children who got alcohol from other adults. It i snow more clear that any sort of drinking at a young age can increase the chances of alcohol consumption later on.
Researchers of the study hope that parents will take this information and understand that giving any amount of alcohol to children isn’t the smartest thing to do.
Teenagers are often susceptible to peer pressure, negative comments, insecurities about their bodies, personalities and minds. There is evidence that alcohol-related TV ads are potentially harmful to teenagers as well. A new study shows that exposure to television ads that show alcohol increase the likelihood of adolescents picking up a drink. Further study also shows that those adolescents that are more likely to pick up a drink are also more likely to engage in risky and dangerous behavior when it comes to alcohol.
Currently, alcohol companies are self-regulating their ads when it comes to underage drinkers. This means that the companies are taking it upon themselves to keep their ads away from young viewers and thereby prevent them from being persuaded to drink because of the advertisements.
For years now, alcohol companies have claimed that their ads are shown on channels and at times when teenagers are not likely to be present. “Alcohol companies claim their advertising does not affect underage drinking – that instead it is parents and friends that are the culprits. This study suggests otherwise: that underage youths are exposed to and engaged by alcohol marketing, and this prompts initiation of drinking as well as transitions from trying to hazardous drinking,” explained James D. Sargent, a pediatrician and a pediatric oncology professor at Dartmouth University.
According to the study, viewers between the ages of 15 and 17 were over 23% likely to see televised ads relating to alcohol, that number is similar to viewers between the ages of 18 and 20. Despite what the marketing companies for alcohol beverages claim, both age groups are as likely to see these ads as those between the ages of 21 and 23. These numbers illustrate the discrepancy between what the alcohol companies are claiming and reality. Children are just as likely to view ads selling alcohol as those that are of drinking age.
Because of the familiarity with advertisements relating to alcohol, children are more receptive to alcohol. Researchers point out that a correlation between viewing these ads and binge drinking exists. 29% of children between the age of 15 and 17 report binge drinking, and 18% admit to risky behavior when it comes to alcohol.
A new study conducted by Marc Schuckit at the University of California in San Diego looked into alcohol-related blackouts and who is most at risk. Consuming too much alcohol can often result in the person shutting down and blacking out. When this happens, the individual cannot remember anything during this time, however they often are able to move and talk, which makes blackouts even more dangerous. Essentially, black outs are the same as being passed out, but the person can still walk and communicate and function to a degree.
The study found that by the time teenagers were 19 years old, 90 percent of them had consumed so much alcohol that they had blacked out at least once. Half of the teenagers surveyed had blacked out on multiple occasions. The study further looked into different groups of people and who was more likely to experience a blackout. Females are most likely to black out, maybe due to a lower weight and body mass index than males. People who drink to the point of blacking out often put themselves in highly risky and dangerous situations that can include sexual conduct, accidents and fights.
There is very little information about the long-term effects that blackouts have on a person, however it cannot be ignored that they are extremely dangerous, especially to younger people. It is known that heavy alcohol abuse leads to memory loss as the person gets older and oftentimes a person will consume more alcohol than they normally would when they are in a black out. Alcohol poisoning can occur when a someone drinks way too much, which can also lead to death.
While the study was conducted on information provided by British students who tend to drink more than American students, Schuckit believes that the study should be taken very seriously. Parents, teachers and law enforcement need to be alert to any underage drinking as it can very well lead to black outs. A person who tends to black out when they drink may be exhibiting signs of an alcohol abuse problem.
Many teenagers do not realize the dangers of heavy alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol almost always starts out as a social endeavor. Drinking at parties and with friends is something that many teens try at least once, which can quickly escalate. Binge drinking and heavy drinking have serious effects on the body and the brain, and now there is a program that allows teenagers to upload their picture and see how alcohol would affect their appearance over time.
This in-your-face type of campaign is important for a demographic like teenagers. Teenagers and children in the past have grown up with slogans like; “Just Say No” and have been lectured and talked to about the dangers of drugs, underage drinking and drinking and driving. Illustrating the dangers of alcohol by using their own face may be more powerful than any speech of catchy slogan.
The program shows the destruction alcohol can have on a person’s facial features. The preventative tool works by uploading a picture into the program and seeing how your face is affected after two years, five years, 10 years, 15 years and 20 years of heavy drinking. The original picture is distorted and altered to accurately portray someone who has engaged in heavy drinking. Red blotches, facial alterations and wrinkles are just some of the changes one can see in their picture after submitting it to the program.
Alcohol abuse is something that oftentimes gets overlooked in the wake of the prescription drug and heroin epidemic that is running through our society. However, alcohol still remains one of the most deadly drugs on the market and has long lasting effects on the body. Binge drinking, defined as consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short time, is common among teenagers and younger adults. Binge drinking is most often done among large groups of people, usually at a party. Experts warn that excessive binge drinking can lead to a more severe alcohol problem in the future.
For the fifth year running, The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, The Grammy Foundation and Music Cares have joined together for the Teens Make Music Contest. As part of the Above the influence Campaign, the contest is designed to help teens rise above the influence of drugs and alcohol through the power of music.
To participate, young musicians from 14-18 can compose an original song or they can make a music video, representing how they celebrate life above the influence. Songs and videos that bring awareness of the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse can also be submitted.
Once a part of a National Youth Anti-Drug Campaign, the Above the Influence Campaign is now a program of the not-for-profit Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. The campaign’s goal is to help teens stand up to negative pressure and influences.
“Our Above the Influence campaign is all about youth empowerment, individual expression, and positive choices, and the Teens Make Music Contest is a wonderful opportunity for teens to uniquely express their individual reasons for living above the influence, said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
Not only are participating teens be provided a platform to tell the world about their choices to stay above the influence, but they could win some really cool prizes as well. The first prize winner will receive two tickets to the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, CA, a $500 cash prize and will have an opportunity to perform a set in the Acoustic Tent on the 2015 Vans Warped Tour. Second- and third- place winners will receive cash prizes. All three winners will get a backstage pass to the rehearsals for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards.
Teens wanting to participate have until December 1, 2014, to submit their entries. For more information and to enter the contest, visit www.abovetheinfluence.com/grammys.
There has been a buzz this week surrounding the news of the supposed approval for sale of powdered alcohol called simply Palcohol. Reports surfaced that the substance was given the green light by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau earlier this month.
Then news hit again that the agency postponed that approval pending a possible labeling issue. If it does get ultimate approval, this will be the first and only product like it on the market. The Palcohol website chides news sources as promoting incorrect information and insists it was a small and easily fixable issue.
Palcohol was invented by a man named Mark Phillips and is being packaged and distributed by a company named Lipsmark. It is available in V for vodka and R for rum, as well as some mixed drink flavors. The concept is that it is distilled aclohol in powdered form, so that once you add 5 oz. of water to a packet it is the equivalent of one standard drink.
It is billed as being portable for adults on the go who want to be able to have alcohol available to them without having the hassle of lugging bottles around, but the form seems susceptible to being abused by young people. Lipsmark says on it’s site that it has added extra powder to the formula as a deterrent to snorting it, but non-descript powders can be easily masked by teens and the abuse potential still seems high.
Whether or not the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau winds up giving permanent approval for Palcohol remains to be seen. If it does, then new challenges will have to be met to help limit potential damage by this new substance. Although the substance is different, the synthesis of it presents similar problems to other powdered drugs and teens.
A disturbing trend that appears to be emerging among teenagers is that that one in five teens believe it’s okay for their designated driver to drink and use drugs, as long as they’re not “too impaired.” This mindset is extremely dangerous, which unfortunately costs lives of not only some of the teens involved, but potentially also to innocent people on the road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), About 18 percent of fatal crashes involving 16 – 20 yr-olds included impaired drivers. Overall, more than 30 percent of the total deaths (about 10,000 lives lost) are alcohol-related each year.
Bloomberg reports that the information from the survey was provided by Liberty Mutual Holding. David Melton, managing director for global safety at Liberty Mutual, told Bloomberg that teens ““seem to think that unless they’re really falling-down drunk, that it’s OK for them to drive.”
Teens today are bombarded with a pop culture attitude that “partying” as much as possible is good. Reality show after reality show aimed at young people include drunk, obnoxious and irresponsible behavior that is popularized and even glamorized. Additionally, music in multiple genres today are heavily-laden with references about drinking, from pop and country to hip-hop and more.
In order to reverse trends such as the one mentioned in the survey, a full cultural shift must take place into one that doesn’t condone such behavior.