Teen Drinking Widespread In NYC
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Underage drinking in New York is a major problem, with as many as 847,000 underage customers drinking in the state every single year. In fact, in a 2009 study of New York students in grades 9-12, the results indicated that:
These data indicate how widespread underage drinking is among younger teens in New York. When underage college students are factored in, it is likely that even more drinking is occurring, often in settings such as parties where binge drinking is common.
The problem of underage drinking is so pervasive that estimates indicate 18.4 percent of all alcohol sold in New York was consumed by people who were under 21. When comparing the percentage of alcohol consumed by underage people across all 50 states, New York ranks No. 15 (with No. 1 being the highest percentage).
When young people consume alcohol, they put themselves and others at risk of serious harm. Kids who begin drinking before age 15 are around four times as likely to develop alcohol dependence as compared to those who start after their 21st birthday. They are also 2 ½ times more likely to abuse alcohol than those who start drinking later in life.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident caused by a teen driver or suffered injury or death as a result of negligent or intentional wrongdoing by an intoxicated teen, you have certain legal rights. It may be possible for you to take action to recover monetary compensation for losses.
Research also shows that many adolescents start to drink at very young ages. In 2003, the average age of first use of alcohol was about 14, compared to about 17 1/2 in 1965 (7,8). People who reported starting to drink before the age of 15 were four times more likely to also report meeting the criteria for alcohol dependence at some point in their lives (9). In fact, new research shows that the serious drinking problems (including what is called alcoholism) typically associated with middle age actually begin to appear much earlier, during young adulthood and even adolescence.
As children move from adolescence to young adulthood, they encounter dramatic physical, emotional, and lifestyle changes. Developmental transitions, such as puberty and increasing independence, have been associated with alcohol use. So in a sense, just being an adolescent may be a key risk factor not only for starting to drink but also for drinking dangerously.
Environmental factors, such as the influence of parents and peers, also play a role in alcohol use (44). For example, parents who drink more and who view drinking favorably may have children who drink more, and an adolescent girl with an older or adult boyfriend is more likely to use alcohol and other drugs and to engage in delinquent behaviors (45).
Researchers are examining other environmental influences as well, such as the impact of the media. Today alcohol is widely available and aggressively promoted through television, radio, billboards, and the Internet. Researchers are studying how young people react to these advertisements. In a study of 3rd, 6th, and 9th graders, those who found alcohol ads desirable were more likely to view drinking positively and to want to purchase products with alcohol logos (46). Research is mixed, however, on whether these positive views of alcohol actually lead to underage drinking.
Whatever it is that leads adolescents to begin drinking, once they start they face a number of potential health risks. Although the severe health problems associated with harmful alcohol use are not as common in adolescents as they are in adults, studies show that young people who drink heavily may put themselves at risk for a range of potential health problems.
Prevalence rates of drinking for boys and girls are similar in the younger age groups; among older adolescents, however, more boys than girls engage in frequent and heavy drinking, and boys show higher rates of drinking problems.
Intervention approaches typically fall into two distinct categories: (1) environmental-level interventions, which seek to reduce opportunities for underage drinking, increase penalties for violating minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) and other alcohol use laws, and reduce community tolerance for alcohol use by youth; and (2) individual-level interventions, which seek to change knowledge, expectancies, attitudes, intentions, motivation, and skills so that youth are better able to resist the prodrinking influences and opportunities that surround them.
Environmental interventions are among the recommendations included in the recent National Research Council (NRC) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on underage drinking (71). These interventions are intended to reduce commercial and social availability of alcohol and/or reduce driving while intoxicated. They use a variety of strategies, including server training and compliance checks in places that sell alcohol; deterring adults from purchasing alcohol for minors or providing alcohol to minors; restricting drinking in public places and preventing underage drinking parties; enforcing penalties for the use of false IDs, driving while intoxicated, and violating zero-tolerance laws; and raising public awareness of policies and sanctions.
Today, alcohol is widely available and aggressively promoted throughout society. And alcohol use continues to be regarded, by many people, as a normal part of growing up. Yet underage drinking is dangerous, not only for the drinker but also for society, as evident by the number of alcohol-involved motor vehicle crashes, homicides, suicides, and other injuries.
People who begin drinking early in life run the risk of developing serious alcohol problems, including alcoholism, later in life. They also are at greater risk for a variety of adverse consequences, including risky sexual activity and poor performance in school.
In addition, educating adolescents and their parents about the risks of drug misuse and abuse can play a role in combating the problem. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), created the website NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse to educate teens, their parents, and teachers on the science behind prescription drug misuse and abuse. Developed with the help of teens to ensure relevance, NIDA scientists created a site that delivers science-based facts about how drugs affect the brain and body so that young people will be armed with better information to make healthy decisions.
Fewer teens, though still substantial shares, voice concern over bullying, drug addiction and alcohol consumption. More than four-in-ten say these are major problems affecting people their age in the area where they live, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17.
When it comes to the pressures teens face, academics tops the list: 61% of teens say they feel a lot of pressure to get good grades. By comparison, about three-in-ten say they feel a lot of pressure to look good (29%) and to fit in socially (28%), while roughly one-in-five feel similarly pressured to be involved in extracurricular activities and to be good at sports (21% each). And while about half of teens see drug addiction and alcohol consumption as major problems among people their age, fewer than one-in-ten say they personally feel a lot of pressure to use drugs (4%) or to drink alcohol (6%).
The pressure teens feel to do well in school is tied at least in part to their post-graduation goals. About six-in-ten teens (59%) say they plan to attend a four-year college after they finish high school, and these teens are more likely than those who have other plans to say they face a lot of pressure to get good grades.
In addition to these gender differences, the survey also finds some differences in the experiences and aspirations of teens across income groups. About seven-in-ten teens in households with annual incomes of $75,000 or more (72%) say they plan to attend a four-year college after they finish high school; 52% of those in households with incomes between $30,000 and $74,999 and 42% in households with incomes below $30,000 say the same. Among teens who plan to attend a four-year college, those in households with incomes below $75,000 express far more concern than those with higher incomes about being able to afford college.
And while a relatively small share of teens overall say they face a lot of pressure to help their family financially, teens in lower-income households are more likely to say they face at least some pressure in this regard.
There are also differences by household income in the problems teens say exist in their communities. Teens in lower-income households are more likely to say teen pregnancy is a major problem among people their age in the area where they live: 55% of teens in households with incomes below $30,000 say this, versus 38% of those in the middle-income group and an even smaller share (22%) of those in households with incomes of $75,000 or more. Compared with teens in the higher-income group, those in households with incomes below $30,000 are also more likely to cite bullying, drug addiction, poverty and gangs as major problems.
The survey suggests that, in some ways, the attitudes and experiences of teens may vary along racial and ethnic lines. However, because of small sample sizes and a reduction in precision due to weighting, estimates are not presented by racial or ethnic groups.
Teens in lower-income households also have different assessments of the amount of time they spend with their parents. Four-in-ten teens in households with incomes below $30,000 say they spend too little time with their parents, compared with about one-in-five teens in households with higher incomes.
Some 65% of teens who say they plan to attend a four-year college after high school say they worry at least some about being able to afford college. Similarly, 70% express at least some concern about getting into the college of their choice.
Perhaps not surprisingly, concerns about affording college are more prevalent among teens in lower-income households. Among teens who say they plan to attend a four-year college, about three-quarters (76%) in households with incomes below $75,00o say they worry at least some about being able to afford it, compared with 55% of those in households with incomes or $75,000 or more. 2b1af7f3a8