Christian Living: Alcohol and Teenagers


UNITED STATES

  • Over 4.5 million teenagers between age 14 and 17 are problem drinkers.
  • In 1980, 30.1 percent of the tens interviewed said that either they or their friends got drunk at least once a week. Six percent said that they drank daily.
  • In 1988, over 8,000 teenagers died in alcohol-related auto accidents. Many times that number were disfigured.
  • 90 percent of the teenage population tries alcohol; 8-9 percent exhibits alcoholic behavior (due to peer pressure) while not actually being alcoholic, and 1-2 percent of the teens are actually alcoholic — usually poly-drug addicted.
  • Nearly one of three teens reports riding with an adolescent driver who was drunk.
  • Nearly half of all teens who commit suicide are intoxicated at the time.
  • 42 million children live in homes with alcohol-dependent parents, relatives, or guardians. Approximately 50 percent of those children will themselves develop a problem with alcohol.

WORLDWIDE

  • Britain — teenage drunkenness has doubled in the past 12 years.
  • Sweden — one poll showed that 90 percent of that nation’s 15 year olds drank regularly.
  • Russia — 90 percent of the population had their first drink before age 15 and 33 percent before age 10. These figures and others have alarmed Russian officials who are facing a grave national problem with alcoholism.
  • Austria, West Germany, Norway, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, France, Ireland and Switzerland have spent millions on state informational campaigns on alcoholism or have banned alcohol advertising in the various printed or electronic media.

What motivates young people to drink alcohol?

Motives (Swiss children aged 12 to 16) Percentage of all yes replies
German-speaking French-speaking Italian-speaking
Self-gratification “because I like it”
36.9
8.2
11.8
10.9
6.5
9.2
4.5
3.8
5.7
2.5
34.7
12.7
4.6
15.5
7.0
6.5
6.2
4.5
6.1
2.2
48.6
12.0
5.2
8.2
3.1
4.3
3.2
5.8
7.7
1.9
“because it feels good to be a little tipsy”
“because I am bored”
Symbolic participation/ pressure from young people of the same age “because my friends drink, too”
“so my friends won’t think I’m a wet blanket”
“because most adults drink”
“so as to mix more easily with other people”
Psycho-dynamic relief “to give me courage and self-confidence”
“so I can talk more easily to people”
“to calm myself down”

source: World Health magazine, August 1981

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