"Live, from anywhere, it's Friday night: time for the youth of America to "rage". Time to get broasted, buzzed, catatonic, messed up, ripped, screwed, trashed, wasted, zoned out. Time, to put it in language older folks can understand, to get totally hopelessly drunk," (Elson 1) journalist John Elson bluntly states the reality that most American teenagers face in an article he wrote in 1991 for Time Magazine. Is it a sign of the times? Maybe it has to do with the pressures of growing up in a modern society. Call it what you will, the fact is that underage drinking is a rapidly growing problem in the United States. I think it's time to look to other nations and cultures for a possible solution.
Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence are not only adult problems, they also affect a significant number of adolescents and young adults between the ages of twelve and twenty, even though drinking under the age of twenty-one is illegal. "Despite the fact that the nation's per capita alcohol consumption has been on a decline for years, drinking among minors, in the words of Surgeon General Antonio Novello "is out of control"" (Elson 1).
For decades the widespread frequency and consequences of under age alcohol use have created health, safety, and criminal justice problems throughout the United States. "Government officials are only now beginning to focus on what they believe is the vastly under reported number of alcohol-related incidents among those in their teens and early twenties: suicide, murder, date-rape, family violence. Alcohol abuse was a major factor in 41% of all academic problems and 28% of college dropouts, according to a 1991 study by Virginia George Mason University and West Chester University of Pennsylvania" (Elson 2).
Fortunately, many organizations have blossomed around our country to help make a difference. One of the most well known organizations that promote awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving is MADD [Mothers Against Drunk Driving].