The city of El Paso has become one of the many cities that have the highest rates on underage drinking and driving due to the spike of alcohol consumption in this generation. There are many reasons why teenagers being to drink at a young age. Some reasons being because of peer pressure, anxiety, stress, etc. But what most teens don’t know is what it actually does to their body. The real question here is why are they even allowed to drink in the first place.
High school students slowly become interested in alcohol their freshman year of high school. One of the reasons why students become addicted to drinking at such a young age is because of peer pressure. Peer pressure can be given off at the end of middle school and the beginning of their high school days. Once teenagers at the age of 15 begin drinking, it spikes from there. They will want to become obsessed with the idea of going out every weekend and get as drunk as they can and begin to binge drink away their night. After a few hours of drinking teens will think it’s okay to leave the party drunk and drive themselves home thinking they’re sober enough. But what they don’t know is within that small amount of time the alcohol they consume is slowing causing them damage. Consuming alcohol can cause more damage than what people think. Alcohol targets every organ in your body from the brain to your stomach. It can damage the brain by causing the individual to have a hard time walking, having blurred vision, slow reaction times, etc. Brain damage leads to serious problems like liver damage. The liver is responsible for breaking down the alcohol into harmless products and clearing the body. With the excess beer your body keeps, it begins to turn into fat. Where do the teenagers get a hold of the alcohol?
“Research has found that 7% of high school students have used a fake ID to get alcohol at some point.” This statistic is very true because it is extremely easy to get a hold of one in high school. Due to the technology advances we have right now, It is getting harder and harder for bartenders and alcohol sellers to identify which one is real and which ones are fake. Teens are smarter to know that clerks at a gas station or anywhere, will not permit them to purchase alcohol under no circumstances. Yet they do know that if they have anyone over the age of 21, they can use them to get a hold of some. If and when high school students reach that point in their life when they feel like they need alcohol to cope with anything, they will find a way to get any form of alcohol with whomever will give it to them. If a 21 year old that is not a legal guardian of the minor gets caught encouraging them to drink. “It’s punishable by a six-months county jail stay and/or a $2,000 fine” (Salvador Moralez).
The real question is, why do parents let their teens drink at a young age? The answer to that would be because parents sometimes feel more comfortable letting them drink in front of them instead of doing it behind their back. “Some conclude the best decision is to allow their child to drink while around the parents. This will give them experience with alcohol while under the supervision of their parents. It will prepare them for college.” (Thompson) The place adults will let teens drink is at family reunions, christmas, new years and any other special occasion that may be coming up. Adults over the age of 21 will let any teen drink as much and as long as they want not really thinking about the consequences.
On December 6, 2017, El Paso adopted a civil social host ordinance. This ordinance will hold the adults responsible for lending minors their house to throw a party. When this was passed there was a drastic drop on underage drinking at parties. When teenagers go to a house party, they are exposed to all sorts of alcohol that can cause them to act crazy and can become a danger to society. Binge-drinking can cause all sorts of problems from injuries, drug abuse, alcohol poisoning etc. People who provide the alcohol to the minors are said to be the ones who encourage them to continue drinking in a mad way. Many believe that when parents encourage their kids to drink, it causes problems when the teens grow older, but other people believe the opposite. They believe that it helps their children understand and realize how to drink and act responsibly. Having alcohol available for teens encourages them to keep drinking as they grow up. Research also shows that teens start off with just drinking and progress to doing drugs after a while. The easiest and last way any teen in El Paso can receive any type of alcohol is by crossing the border into Juarez and go into a night club and go at it. Although the age limit to be able to drink at Juarez is 18, most teenagers that go often know that most of the time, the border patrols will not check their ID’s. But they will they the minors know that if the cross again under the influence and without a guardian, there will be consequences.
One of the most dangerous situations that can come with underage drinking is driving afterwards. Teens don’t realize that they are incapable of driving themselves home after a party because of all the hype they’ve felt the entire night. With this, comes reckless driving as a result of binge drinking Most teens become aware of their driving abilities around the same time they realize they like to party and drink. But they don’t realize how dangerous combining both can be. According to the City of El Paso’s police department, “El Paso had 74 traffic fatalities, and 8 of the 74 crashes involved teens. Five of those 8 teen fatalities involved alcohol.” This comes to show that El Paso has the highest rate for underage drinking and driving. Most of these fatalities come from the age groups of 13 to 16 years of age. No matter what Texas does to try and prevent undnerage drinking and driving, teens will always find a way to rebel against the laws. The state of El Paso has a “zero tolerance” for the use of underage intoxication on a teenagers system. The legal limit has to be no more than 0.08% for anyone over the age of 21 ONLY. If and when a teen fails their sobriety test, they are immediately given a ticket and sent to the El Paso County Court and they will read the charges that that teen was given. Which in this case would be driving under the influence. It will always be unsafe for and intoxicated child to be behind the wheel. “Underage drinkers are more reckless and less likely to wear seatbelts” (DUI).
The article in the El Paso Police Department website, inform us about the spiking statistics on teenagers die because of alcohol. It helps us by looking at the different statistics that come from five years ago as to most recent. It also provides us with real life stories from teenagers who got severely affected from drinking and driving. The teenagers who were affected by drinking and driving all ended up being killed by the driver who was intoxicated and lost control of the wheel. This should teach a lesson to those teens that enjoy going out to clubs or parties and decide to drive after. Not only does being under the influence provoke driving but it also leads to sexual activities that do not need to be explored. One of the biggest problems with alcohol and sex combines, it leads to unplanned pregnancies, STD’s etc. The El Paso Del Norte Health Foundations reported that the alcohol- related consequences are high in sexual-assault, unplanned pregnancy, STD’s, The city of El Paso clearly has a zero tolerance for alcohol consumption by a minor and no matter what they try to do it will never stop teens from wanting to drink their life away.
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