Few people who complain about the abuse of drugs by young people realize that alcohol abuse is rising even more dramatically. Alcohol treatment centers across the country report that they are seeing a new kind of patient: the twelve to seventeen-year-old, who may have been drinking go rr two to five years. While twenty-one is the legal age to drink alcohol, many start early in their teens consuming alcoholic beverages. Alcohol consumption by teenagers is a complicated matter that involves reasons teenagers drink, how teenagers get alcohol, and the consequences of consuming alcohol. The reasons teens drink vary.

Many teens use drinking as a way to escape reality. They may want to block out painful memories, such as losing a friend or loved one. Other teens may want to drown their sorrows rather than face the tragedy in their family. When a teen's home becomes broken, at times, they may feel as if it is their fault so they drink to help them forget their sorrows. In addition t drinking to escape reality, teens with alcoholic parents are more prone to crumble to peer pressure, such as feeling that they have to drink or do drugs to fit in.

During teen years, adolescents go through a lot of changes, both physical and mental. If teens are not guided in the right direction in dealing with these changes, it can make a difference in the adolescent's ability to resist peer pressure. Before people can convince teenagers no to drink, they must first come to understand why teens do drink and then help them find other alternatives to solve their problems. Also, although all states prohibit the sale of alcohol to people in this age group, most teenagers find it easy to acquire alcohol. A lot of teenagers steal alcohol from their parents and older friends, while others steal from stores. Because computers have become more and more common today, fake ID's can be easily found.

Teenagers can put any information they want onto this document and make themselves appear older, and this sometimes enables them to buy alcohol for themselves. At times teens may have friends or family members whom they resemble that are old enough to buy alcohol and are willing to let them use their ID's or even buy it for them. Some teens know of stores that will sell to them without ID. The number of home breweries seems to be rising more and more. A minor can purchase a home brewery system, and the ingredients are also very easily obtained. Teens who brew their own alcoholic beverages are in complete control of how much alcohol goes into each batch they make.

These reasons among many others are prime examples as to how easily a minor can obtain alcohol. Of course, when teenagers take advantage of thes opportunities and begin to drink regularly and frequently, they can ruin their lives. For example, drinking while driving can cause some dangerous situations to occur. This could not only lead to a DUI charge and possible jail time, But also car accidents that sometimes involve serious or fatal injuries. Teens who choose to drink also expose themselves to many possible health problems. Some of the less severe may include weight gain and memory loss, not to mention having a "hang over" the next day.

Finally, conditions such as alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis of the liver can result from the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Teenagers who decide to drink are not always ready to accept the responsibilities of this dangerous act. In conclusion, although illegal drugs are a problem in the teen population, is not alcohol just as much a problem, if not more? Indeed, teenagers have many reasons for drinking and many ways to get alcohol, but the consequences of drinking can have detrimental effects on their lives. It is time that adults wake up amd concern themselves with this very dangerous and legal drug which society makes so easily accessible to today's youth..