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Media & Alcohol

             There are millions of people in our society, especially teenagers, that are exposed to large billboards, humorous television commercials, magazines, and movies all containing some type of alcohol use or advertisement. Yet, there are anti-alcohol and drug programs, such as D.A.R.E. that degrade usage. There is a double standard in American advertising to the point that adolescents are left to decide for themselves if they should consume alcohol, smoke, or use drugs. .
             Suppose you are driving down the expressway. Somewhere along your journey you are bound to see a large billboard advertising some sort of alcoholic beverage. This sort of advertisement will most likely contain some young happy people skiing in the mountains combined with a catchy quote, such as, "Tap the Rockies". Another place you will notice the use of alcohol is in many movies, nowadays, such as, "American Pie 2". Movies such as these display teenagers drinking alcohol and enjoying themselves. It is advertisements and movies such as these that are causing controversy between anti-alcohol campaigners and beer and wine makers. Are these portrayals of alcohol influencing teenagers to drink more? This is a very debatable issue that offers good points on both sides. Ultimately, the question arises: Is the media/advertising portrayal of alcohol a sufficient threat to teen use of alcohol that it should be banned or regulated?.
             "Undoubtedly, alcohol is the principle drug abuse problem in America today" (National Journal, 1998). According to General Barry McCaffery, former President Clinton's drug czar, the most dominant drug causing violence among American people starts with the abuse of beer and wine coolers by adolescent Americans. It is clear that alcohol is a major problem in America, even more so than drugs. A number of studies have taken place to understand the seriousness of underage drinking. A recent study, for example, showed that approximately fifty-eight billion dollars was society's cost due to underage drinking.

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