Teens are getting introduced to alcohol earlier and earlier. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University recently reported teen drug and alcohol statistics that showed 72.5 percent of all high school students have consumed alcohol at some point. Additionally, one of the top public health problems is adolescent substance abuse.
The Media is Introducing Teens
Commercials are everywhere. There are a number of companies that advertise with little regard to the age group they are advertising to. As a result, teens can be more exposed to ads regarding alcohol than adults can. This has been a problem throughout Great Britain and is trending throughout the United States as well and is creating a considerable teen drinking culture.
- TV Commercials
- Radio ads
- Social Media
Teenagers are extremely impressionable, and when they see commercials advertising people having a good time with an alcoholic beverage in their hand, they assume that they can have just as good a time as well – regardless of the fact that they are not of age to consume the alcohol. In many instances, where there is a will, there is a way – and this cannot be truer in terms of teens being able to obtain alcohol.
While there are laws in place that say alcohol companies cannot directly market teens, there are certainly ways around it. A well placed ad inside of a movie can work wonders in terms of introducing teens to alcohol. Once a teen has been introduced to alcohol, they are going to want to try it, regardless of how they have to get it. Some facts you might not know about alcohol advertising:
- The alcohol industry is only allowed to advertise on TV shows where 70% of the audience is over 21.
- Alcohol producers spend over $900 million on television advertising — 60% of it during sports programming.
- Banner ads, online games, and group pages on social media sites, are some of the ways alcohol producers promote their products. The makers of Southern Comfort now use their entire advertising budget on social media sites like Facebook.
- Product placement in movies such as characters drinking a specific beer or alcohol.
- Kids whose parents restrict R-rated movies drink less alcohol and start drinking later than peers whose parents put no restrictions on movies.
Peer Pressure is Introducing Teens
Peer pressure is another leading cause for introducing teens to alcohol. This can often come down to parenting because children have parties that are unsupervised where alcohol is available. All it takes is one person to attend the party that is over age to ensure there is alcohol available to everyone, regardless of their age. When parents are chaperoning, there are not as many problems.
Throughout high school, teachers and principals have recognized that alcohol is becoming more readily available to teenagers. Sometimes it is available after sporting events or at an event sanctioned by the school, but off of school grounds – such as a field trip, a band outing, or something else. As a result, more schools are requiring kids to sign a form saying that they will not consume alcohol at all until they are 21. Should they be found consuming alcohol, they will be removed from the school grounds or they will be removed from the extracurricular activity they were involved in – including sports.
Drinking in the Household
Especially in the higher societies, drinking is a part of the social scene. Parents consume alcohol at various events in and out of the home. When children are exposed to this, they see drinking as an everyday part of life. They do not understand that it is only available to those who are over the age of 21, and so they feel they are entitled to it as well.
Often in these societies, it is the parents introducing teens to the alcohol, whether they realize it or not. Additionally, many of these homes have very minimal controls on when and where the alcohol is available. This makes it easier for teens to simply open the fridge or open a cabinet in order to obtain all of the alcohol they could want.
Plenty of risky methods are out there for teens to get introduced to alcohol – and many parents can do something about it, if they notice the signs ahead of time.
Other Factors That Put Teens at Risk of Drinking
Studies have proven that alcohol abuse in teens can be the result of environment and genetics. Scientists conducted a variety of tests on twins to determine why one becomes an alcoholic and the other doesn’t. If genetics play a role, then why aren’t both of the twins alcoholics? Other studies were done to determine why some adopted children become alcoholics when the adoptive parents don’t drink. The results of these test are still inconclusive, yet they do indicate that genetics have some influence on whether a person has the predisposition for developing an alcohol problem.
Regardless of what factors played a role in starting a teen’s alcohol abuse, the important thing is that there is a way to put an end to the destructive behavior. The first step is to begin treatment in a professional alcohol treatment program that offers detox and rehabilitation. The reason this type of program is needed stems from the fact that detox is not a cure for alcoholism, it is simply the beginning. Following detox, the individual must learn how to relate to daily stress and pressures without reverting to alcohol as an escape. They must also develop new attitudes about life in general and gain a set of guiding principals that were lacking during their alcohol abuse.
Don’t let alcohol continue to wreak havoc in your life. Begin taking control today. Call now and let our representatives get you started on a path away from alcohol abuse. Somewhere in the future you will be able to look back on your life with a smile instead of frown if you take action today to remove alcohol from that picture.