Alcohol consumption: a new high school assumption?

Alcohol consumption: a new high school assumption?

Jenna Nickl

Changing your appearance to fit in; drinking because that’s what your friends do; experimenting with drugs because it makes you look cool; skipping class because you’re convinced going to high school is for losers. More and more, these inappropriate behaviors and activities are being viewed by high school students as a way to fit in and find a place in the confusing yet merciless maze of high school social status. But all of these choices don’t come without their consequences. In this day and age, it is no longer out of the ordinary to see underage teenagers passing around varieties of not only illegal but harmful alcoholic drinks. The most disturbing part? Many parents, adults and older siblings stand by and watch or even encourage these actions. Despite the constant publishing of statistics on drunk driving and the increasing death toll those actions bring, some adults and teens in the community choose to turn a blind eye to the fact that underage drinking should not be condoned and that high school status does not revolve around shots and beer cans.

Since when has underage drinking become something that society has accepted and even supports? Parents and family members send their children out into the community at night knowing that alcohol will most likely be involved. There are a few parents out there who are still oblivious to their child’s whereabouts and activities at night but a majority of them know very well where and what their kids are engaging in and don’t even mind. The expectation and assumption that high schoolers will partake in underage drinking makes parents give up in trying to discipline their children into a alcohol-free lifestyle. But parents are not the only ones at fault.

The fact that high schoolers have made drinking and partying a habitual routine is the most troublesome of all. As a high schooler, one shouldn’t feel obligated and pressured by peers to join in on parties that include drinking. Why can’t bonding time be fun and enjoyable without the presence of alcohol? More and more, it is difficult for teens to choose alcohol-free lifestyles when a majority of their classmates are convinced that partying, whenever they have a chance to get their hands on liquor, is an acceptable action. Before they can even enjoy their last few years of care-free high school, teens are willingly thrusting themselves into a more mature world involving substances that younger individuals are not physically or mentally prepared for.  Drinking laws are laid down for reasons like these.

Not only are brain damage and irresponsible driving consequences of teen drinking, but it can stretch as far as affecting the community. A recent article in North Hawaii News stated, “Condoning the use of alcohol and drugs or turning a blind eye to a child’s use of illegal substances ultimately affects the whole community.” The community looks to us as the next generation of workers and parents, but how can teens be expected to change the future when being allowed to partake in unacceptable behavior is authorized from such a young age? All we can hope for is that teens look past the expectations that high school pressures them into. Both parents and teens need to realize the harmful affects alcohol and drugs are having on everyone.