Teens going to ridiculous lengths in an attempt to get their hands on alcohol is nothing new. In these days of mask-covered faces however, it seems some youth have found a way to take it to a whole new level. It all started with a TikTok video of a teenage girl dressed up like an elderly grandmother, face covered by a mask, who was able to successfully purchase alcohol. The post immediately racked up millions of views as well as copycats. Others have since posted that now is also the time to use fake IDs as only half of your face can be seen. They say the worst that can happen is that you’re asked to show your full face, in which case you simply refuse based on the idea of not wanting to catch the virus. You may not get the alcohol, but you get to walk away without consequence.
As much as we hear in the news about young people smoking “weed,” vaping, or experimenting with other drugs, alcohol remains the number one substance of abuse by adolescents. In fact, last year’s Monitoring the Future Survey found that 8 percent of 8th graders and 30 percent of 12th graders drank during the past 30 days, while 4 percent of 8th graders and 14 percent of 12th graders binge drank* during the past two weeks.
* – Binge drinking equates to 5 or more drinks for males, and 4 or more drinks for females within about two hours.
We may chuckle at the idea of teens dressing up like little old ladies to get alcohol, but we can’t make the mistake of taking underage drinking lightly. The consequences of young people consuming alcohol have proven to be not only risky, but, at times, deadly.
According to the CDC, youth who drink alcohol are more likely to experience:
- School problems, such as higher absence and poor or failing grades.
- Social problems, such as fighting and lack of participation in youth activities.
- Legal problems, such as arrest for driving or physically hurting someone while drunk.
- Physical problems, such as hangovers or illnesses.
- Unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity.
- Disruption of normal growth and sexual development.
- Physical and sexual assault.
- Higher risk for suicide and homicide.
- Alcohol-related car crashes and other unintentional injuries, such as burns, falls, and drowning.
- Memory problems.
- Misuse of other drugs.
- Changes in brain development that may have life-long effects.
- Death from alcohol poisoning.
According to the CDC, these risks increase when teens binge drink. It is also important to note that the younger a person begins drinking, the higher their risk becomes for developing an alcohol use disorder later in life.
In the tip to follow, we will discuss how the pandemic may be further contributing to underage drinking and other drug use, and what you can do to help protect your children and/or students.
For more facts and information on underage drinking visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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