Underage Drinking and How It Is Affecting San Pasqual

Kiara Bowman, Staff Writer

Drinking is the most widely used substance in America. There are many consequences that come along with drinking as a minor, so it’s a better idea to wait until you’re of age. If you’re caught drinking under the age of 21, you can look forward to a fine of up to $1,000 and you will also have your driving privileges taken away for as long as a year, depending upon how much you’ve been caught with.

According to California Vehicle Code, in the state of California, “Any person who attempts to buy alcohol under the age of 21 may be fined up to $250 and may be required to perform 24-32 hours of community service. The minor may also have his or her driving privileges suspended for one year.” 

There are numerous reasons that kids might partake in underage drinking. When young people start to mature, they want to try new things, challenges, and experiences. Taking risks is just a part of maturing, but underage drinking can come with long term mental and physical damage.

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,” according to the NIAAA’s (National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).

Reckless drinking under the age of 21 also causes many deaths every year, which many people don’t realize. In fact, the NIAAA says that “Each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking; this includes about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1,600 as a result of homicides, 300 from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drownings.”

Parents can help ensure that their children don’t participate in underage drinking by not putting any serious pressures on them during adolescence that could cause them to rebel and lead to them drinking in reaction. According to the NIAAA, “For example, biological and physical changes that occur during adolescence may promote risk-taking behavior leading to early experimentation with alcohol.”

All parents really need to do is let their kids be themselves and not put a lot of force on them, showing affection and accepting their uniqueness when they are young. Then, as they get older, parents can be more lenient on the activities they can do. Parents should let their children be free while also showing they care about them; this is a good way to help control underage drinking with our youth.