Alcohol Related Crashes

"Alcohol related crashes are the leading cause of deaths for teens," states Dr.

Mark S. Gold of Fair Oaks Hospital. It's drinking that harms or endangers the drinker

or other people. Drinking and driving is an extremely dangerous form of alcohol

abuse. Teenage drinking may cause fights with family and friends, sometimes ending in

injuries or death. Loss of coordination and judgment makes drinkers accident prone.

Teenage arrests for drunkenness or creating a disturbance are not only embarrassing

but they can also mean a damaging arrest record (7). Teenage alcoholism is a

serious problem which destroys the lives of many adolescents.

In order to understand the controversial issue of alcoholism, it is

necessary to explore some background information. Webster's Encyclopedic

Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language defines alcoholism as "a diseased

condition due to the excessive use of alcoholic beverages" (35). In a medical sense, the

physical effects are quite frightening. There is a great risk of cirrhosis and liver

cancer. The brain tissue is destroyed and can't be replaced (Peele 15). Historically

speaking, even in ancient times, the use of beer and wine sometimes led to

drunkenness. Moderation was the most frequently recommended remedy (Plesser 3).

Peer pressure contributes to more and more teenagers consuming alcohol. "Eight out

of every ten high school seniors have tried alcohol more than once" ("Alcohol" NP).

Teenagers may not have much experience with alcohol, so it's hard for them to judge

their own limits. Since they are less mature than adults, they are more likely to overact

and lose control when intoxicated.

To show evidence of the effects of alcohol on teenagers, a couple of case studies

have been selected. The first one involves David, a 17 year old high school senior.

He was a gifted athlete and scholar until he turned to alcohol. The symptoms began

to show up by David infuriating his basketball coach and being told to never come

back to the team. His grades started to slip badly and was unaware that that the

quantity of alcohol that he was consuming had a direct toll on him. When he finally

realized that it was time to stop drinking, he could not do it. Finally, he went to

intervention and that was the best decision of his life (Greenleaf 8+). This teenager

was one of the lucky ones. He recognized the fact that he had a problem, sought out

help and was cured.

The next case study involved a high school student who earned good grades

and played football. Like many teenagers, Jeff Kellogg drank a bit on weekends with

his friends. Although being drunk, Jeff decided to drive home after a party. That

particular night the roads were wet and snowy. He crashed into a utility pole and was

rushed to a hospital where he was declared dead. His parents knew of his drinking

and would punish him hoping that he would stop (Anderson 1A+). While being

intoxicated, a persons' judgment and vision is impaired. Teenagers who feel

no pain temporarily may indeed make wrong decisions.

The answer to teenage alcoholism as well as other teenage problems is a one

word answer; parents. The people who gave birth to you are the ones that are

responsible for you and are ultimately the ones who will suffer the most when things

go bad. In most situations, the teen is living at home and is actually crying out for

help. Will anyone listen? Parents hope for the best and pray that situations will work

themselves out by themselves. Each generation has their own set of problems.

Yesterday's remedy will not work today. Professional services are available and

should be used. The parent must spend the time to know their teen!

Works Cited

"Alcohol." Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia. 1994 ed.

Anderson, Julie. "Teen Drinking Can End With Sobering Results"

Omaha World-Herald 29 Mar. 1992. (Reprinted in SIRS,

Alcohol, Vol. 5, Art. 10).

Greenleaf, Victoria. "The Trouble With David" Detroit Free Press

5 July 1987. (Reprinted in SIRS, Alcohol, Vol. 4, Art. 14).

Gold, Mark S. The Facts About Drugs and Alcohol. New York: Bantam

Premium Book, 1986.

Peele, Stanton Diseasing of America: Addiction Treatment Out of Control.

Toronto: Lexington Books, 1989.

Plesser, Donna R. Illegal Drugs and Alcohol. New York: Random House,


Webster, Merriam Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the

English Language. New York: Gramercy Books, 1989.


"Alcohol." Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia. 1994 ed.

Anderson, Julie. "Teen Drinking Can End With Sobering Results"

Omaha World-Herald 29 Mar. 1992.