Tuesday, December 23, 2014

TEENAGE DRINKING A FACT OF LIFE

When did you have your first alcoholic drink? I am not talking about a sip of your dad's beer, but the first time you drank to excess?

If my memory serves me correct, I was around 15. It was in the Summer. I was staying with my cousin at his sister's place in Red Harbor for the week-end . His brother-in-law was away and we discovered he had a batch of beer brewing. Johnny and I got into the home-brew it in the middle-of-the day. It was horrible stuff, warm and full of crap. It was not ready but we were. After six or so, I got up and walked outdoors. My sense of direction was gone, my balance was shot, it was all I could do to stand up. I ended up passing out in a ditch. 

It was an embarrassing and dangerous way to learn a lesson. Alcohol is dangerous, deadly dangerous. Even those of us that have been consuming liquor and beer for decades can forget that alcohol is a poison that can do a lot of harm. Strictly speaking, anyone who suffers a hangover is suffering from the effects of alcohol poisoning.

When a person has alcohol poisoning they have consumed a toxic amount of alcohol, usually over a short period. Their blood alcohol level is so high it is considered toxic (poisonous). You become extremely confused, unresponsive, disoriented, have shallow breathing, and can even pass out or go into a coma. Alcohol poisoning can be life-threatening and usually requires urgent medical treatment.

According to Medical News Today, When somebody consumes an alcoholic drink, their liver has to filter out the alcohol, a toxin, from their blood. We absorb alcohol much more quickly than food - alcohol gets to our bloodstream much faster. However, the liver can only process a limited amount of alcohol; approximately one unit of alcohol every hour.

Binge drinking amongst young people is a common cause of alcohol poisoning. While drinking under age is illegal, it a time honored coming of age event  for the vast majority. My oldest guys is 15. He has gone to a few parties where alcohol was being consumed by some of his peers.


I have had a few conversions with Aidan about drinking. First of all it is illegal. Secondly we talked about how his brain is still developing. The the adolescent brain is more sensitive than the adult brain to negative effects from alcohol. Thirdly, alcohol does affect self-control. It depresses the central nervous system, impairs judgment and leads to doing stupid things - many of which you will later regret.

Thousands of teenagers across this country who think they can handle it - have been hurt, hurt others or died as a result of alcohol related incidents that could have been avoided.

Curiosity accounts for a lot of first drinks. It’s difficult to withstand the pressure if the group you’re with sees having a few drinks as a necessary part of having a good time. It is not easy to say no. You do have a choice about who you hang with and about what you do for recreation.

Going against the crowd can be really scary for a teen but it can be done. You do not need to drink til you puke or drink at all.  However, let's face it, getting booze is not difficult and no matter how concerned and vigilant parents are - in the end it’s up to your teen to make a good decision about drinking.

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