Teenage drinking has a storied past in the United States. Alcohol was first introduced to America by the European traders and colonists. Most people instantly fell in love with this new drink. The one-hundred and fifty years between the Colonial period and the Revolutionary War was when alcohol really became popular. Alcohol was considered as a “Good Creature of God”.
It was used as a medicine and considered a tool for relaxation and good fellowship.
This conception of alcohol changed drastically in the mid 1800’s. People started becoming concerned about the misuses of alcohol and the side effects occurring from drinking alcohol. This era was known as the “Demon Rum” era. Temperance groups urged moderation in the drinking of alcohol and were sincere and dedicated to finding a solution to the misuse of alcohol. This group sought out laws for prohibition and abstinence of alcohol.
They urged the passing of the Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act. The Eighteenth Amendment was passed in 1919 and prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol. The prohibition was considered a failure because it was not strictly enforced and a black market of alcohol formed. The Eighteenth Amendment was then repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment in 1933. This amendment repealed the prohibition on alcohol and made it legal for citizens of the United States to possess and manufacture alcohol.
A new perspective had then formed on the idea of alcohol.
It was a compromise between the “Good Creature of God” and the “Demon Rum” era. This perspective was known as “disease concept of alcoholism”. People felt that alcohol was acceptable for most individuals, but there was a small majority where alcohol could act as an addictive poison. However, whatever stand one takes on the issue, whether it be that alcohol is good or bad, you have to realize that America has to find a solution to teenage drinking because it can lead to physical defects and even death (Lang 22).
While drinking alcohol might shape one’s image, it plays terror on the sensory organs for a short time frame. Alcohol is passed to the nerve cells interfering with concentration and judgment skills.
The state systems have a BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration), a rating scale which determines impairment. In most states, legally drunk is at .08 percent. At .08 percent, the law says sensory capabilities are unable to work at one-hundred percent. For an average person, it takes up to two hours to metabolize or eliminate a standard-sized beer, glass of wine, or single shot of hard liquor (Lang 39).
Intoxication is another short term effect of alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant and its effects concentrate on the brain and nervous system. These reactions center mostly on one’s speech and the ability to walk straight during this period of drunkenness. Vomiting and impulsive behaviors also occur. People who have had little to drink are aroused and excited, but people who have had more than their tolerance can stand become depressed because they don’t know when to stop drinking (Lang 44).
After one has been drinking, they will then experience a hangover.
The hangover consists of a headache, fatigue, upset stomach, thirst, anxiety, depression and irritability. Hangovers are caused by the buildup of toxic acetaldehyde after drinking and the chemical impurities in alcoholic beverages. The only cure for a hangover is to wait it out and try to get some rest (Lang 53).
Long-term effects come on as the addiction of tolerance increases. This means the person requires more and more drinks in order to satisfy their need for alcohol. If they consume the same amount of alcohol as when they first started drinking a long time ago, that amount would not phase them because their tolerance for alcohol has risen.
There are many other tolerances other than that of addiction of tolerance. Metabolic tolerance is when the person does not maintain as high a BAC as non tolerant people. Behavioral tolerance is when the person needs to have more drinks to feel the high that they use to feel. One final type of tolerance is that of cross-tolerance. This causes reduced responsiveness to other drugs (Lang 57).
A chronic drinker is a more serious drinker.
Chronic drinking kills many .