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Why Shouldn't I Drink?

     Even though it is illegal to drink alcohol in the United States until you are 21, and in Canada until you are 19 (18 in Quebec), most teens can get access to alcohol, or will at least be exposed to it or have friends who drink. It is therefore up to you to make a decision whether to drink.

     Deciding to drink can have many harmful consequences. Usually, younger teens (under 16) are neither mentally nor physically developed enough to handle a strong drug like alcohol. Also, the earlier that one begins drinking, the more likely they are to have problem with alcohol later in life.

     Although most teens drink alcohol in order to fit in and look cool, they often end up doing foolish things due to the fact that they are drunk and may end up being embarrassed the nest day or having done or said something that they regret. Also, the next day you will suffer a hangover, which is not fun and includes, upset stomachs, headaches, dizziness and sensitivity to light and sound.

     Drinking may begin to interfere with your social life, sports and school work. Also, your parents will most likely disapprove of your drinking, and this could result in punishment and groundings. As well, it has been seen that teens who drink end up being more sexually active and having more unprotected sex with partners that they do not know as well. This may result in pregnancy and STD's, which could then end up in death.

     People often say that they drink to escape from their problems, but it is a proven fact that drinking only leads to more problems - especially problems with the law. In fact, research shows that 32% of teens under 18 who are in long-term juvenile detention centers were under the influence of alcohol at the time of their crime and/or arrest.

     Also, teens who drink may get seriously hurt or even die. Over 38% of all drowning deaths are alcohol-related. Use of alcohol greatly increases the chance that a teen will be involved in a car accident, homicide, or suicide. If you do choose to drink, don't drink and drive or let your friends drink and drive. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), on one of the most popular prom nights in 1999, as many as 62% of the traffic fatalities were alcohol-related.

     Long-term alcohol use can have extremely serious health consequences. Liver damage is a widely known consequence of alcohol abuse. Years of drinking can also damage the pancreas, heart, and brain. Heavy drinking can lead to malnutrition (if alcohol is used as a substitute for food) or obesity (if regular or binge eating is combined with the high calorie content of alcoholic beverages).

Related Links
Effects of Alcohol
Controlling Blood Alcohol Concentration
Avoid Drinking
Dependency Problem