Thursday, April 29, 2010

Teen Drinking Issues Are Known By Teens And...Ignored

I was recently alerted to a Macleans Magazine article that new research suggests that teenage drinking is linked to breast disease.  As shocking as that may seem to the adult readers of this periodical as a youth worker I have had many conversations with young people about the effects of alcohol.  The surprising thing is that they are well educated on the subject.  I remember talking with one group of young people as they shared their weekend stories.  The stories they laugh the hardest at are the one where drunk friends do something dumb.  I brought something about the drinking age and they told me why the drinking age is set at 19 in British Columbia and that according to research into adolescent brain development the drinking age probably should be set to 21.  They also cited information about how teen drinking can have addictive effects moving into adulthood. 

To be honest, I was shocked.  Along with most adults I thought that simply educating people about the risks of a behavior could indeed consistent a change in behavior.  We as a culture have done a great job in increasing education without affecting behavior.  Now the kids know more about alcohol than ever before and they simply ignore it.  The same will be true of this latest round of scientific findings.  The question we need to ask is why are they drinking?

I have some ideas but before I get into those on my next post, I want to hear a bit form you.  Tell me what you think can or should be done about underage drinking.
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