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Adolescents and Alcohol

            Today we know alcohol abuse among adolescents in the United States is common. Many high school students are consuming alcohol at an alarming rate. Not all of America's youth drink. In this paper, I will discuss how many adolescents consume alcohol and the problems it may cause for them. These problems can have immediate affects or can be a long-term. .
             Alcohol is usually the first substance used by adolescents. Annual surveys conducted nationwide showed that in recent years, greater number of youths have reported having tried alcohol (Scheier & Botvin, 1998). Although many high school students are drinking alcohol, they aren't thinking about the consequences. We know that adolescents are drinking, but we don't see many alcohol related disorders among those who do. Early drinking appears to raise risks for problems as young adults, and therefore, the onset of alcohol disorders starts in adolescents (Bonomo et al., 2001).
             How many adolescents are actually at risk as young adults for having an alcohol related disorder? A national survey of secondary school students, indicated that 71% of tenth graders have tried alcohol, 39% have drank in the last 30 days, and 31% have been drunk in the past 30 days (Scheier & Botvin, 1998). Many adolescents are looking at alcohol related problems in their future. .
             Many other problems can occur from alcohol. A survey was done that measured alcohol related behaviors among 16 and 17 year old boys and girls. 211 males and 249 females were surveyed. Out of these adolescents, 12% of the males and 9 % of the females had a fight and or accident result in injury. Eight percent of the males had this happen more than once. Another alcohol-related behavior is sexual risk taking. Six percent of the females were involved in any sexual activity and 9% more than once. Only 7% of the males were involved in any sexual risk taking (Bonomo et al, 2001). Another study states that 15 year olds who use alcohol are 7 times as likely to have sexual intercourse as their peers who do not drink (Pediatrics, 2001).

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