Teenagers in the U.S Suffer with Alcohol Use Disorder
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “15.1 million adults and 623,000 teenagers in the U.S suffer with Alcohol Use Disorder” (Anon, 2019). Alcoholism has been problematic since the beginning of time and continue to be one of societies the biggest problems today. Alcohol affects the lives of people of all ages and Consuming alcohol daily is very common and dependency on alcohol can have negative consequences (Anon, 2019). Alcoholism has been linked to disease, such as cirrhosis (DiMartini and Neuberger 2015). Gymah and Kwabena state, that Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that inmates at the time of their offense 41 percent admitted to being intoxicated. For most of society alcohol is usually downplayed by society and targets certain socioeconomic individuals (Buskirk et, al 2012). Alcohol is usually viewed as something harmless, but it is considered a drug and is just as bad as taking drugs.
Alcohol has been the drug of choice for centuries, globally. According to the book Alcohol Abuse and Liver Disease, Alcohol can be traced back in 3000 BC when the Sumerians wrote a written reference to alcohol and in 6000 BC barley was being cultivated by Neolithic man to make a form of beer (DiMartini and Neuberger 2015). In Babylon, in 1800 BC it was necessary to regulate the price and availability of beer (DiMartini and Neuberger 2015). Shortly after that for Hebrews and Christians drinking wine became a symbolic ritual of Gods given gift in moderation (DiMartini and Neuberger 2015). DiMartini and Neuberger state that in the New Testament of the Bible they talk about abusing alcohol. For example, DiMartini and Neuberger state that in the New testament St. Paul talks about the physical harms associated with alcohol that, “It desecrates the body and barres the gates of Heaven” (DiMartini and Neuberger 2015). Not only has alcohol been around for a long time but people have been having problems with alcohol abuse since the beginning of time (DiMartini and Neuberger 2015).
According to the book Drugs, Behavior and Modern Society, Levinthal states that alcohol was destroying families in the 1800s women were doing a movement that wanted to ban saloons. According to Levinthal in the book he states that women felt like these places led men to alcoholism and prostitution (Levinthal pg.196) In the early 1900s, a law was passed that prohibited the sale, importation, transpiration of any intoxicating liquors (Levithal 2014).
The prohibition took effect in 1920 but it didn’t work because people are so dependent on this drug that they were buying and consuming illegally (Levinthal pg.196) They noticed a decline in alcohol related deaths such as cirrhosis and alcohol related crimes but this only lasted for a bit until crime was getting out of hand (Levithal 2014). In 1933 president Roosevelt revoked Prohibition and used the alcohol sale tax money for welfare programs during the depression (Levithal 2014). The government saw an easy way of making money out of the alcoholic beverages that were made to sale.
According to the book Drugs, Behavior and Modern Society, Levinthal states that making alcohol is really easy to do and that you need to create ethyl alcohol through a process that’s called fermentation (Levinthal pg.192). You start with a form of a fruit that has sugar in it like grapes, berries, apples etc. and fermentation begins when it is left in a warm environment (Levinthal pg.192). “Yeast cells floating in the air consume the sugar and leave behind for every sugar molecule two alcohol and carbon dioxide molecules are left behind” (Levinthal pg.192). The carbon dioxide begins to leave the fermentation process, and your left with wine of some sort (Levinthal pg.192). High levels of concentrated alcohol are derived from this process (Levinthal pg.192). Another famous alcoholic beverage other than wine is beer. Beer is probably the more popular choice and it is harder to make (Levinthal pg.192). Alcohol fermentation was discovered centuries ago by our ancestors.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), states that “When consuming alcohol, it may have negative effects on the body” (Anon, 2019). The NIAAA states that blood alcohol concentration level increases within ten to thirty minutes when alcohol enters the bloodstream (Anon, 2019). For example, the NIAAA states that when the BAC increases it can create difficulties with memory, confusion, speech, and temporary impairment (Anon, 2019). NIAAA also state, that alcohol can even make you violent and suicidal (Anon, 2019). According to DiMartini and Neuberger in the book called Alcohol Abuse and Liver Disease, it states that alcohol has many harmful effects. It can cause lasting and acute effects (DiMartini and Neuberger 2015). Long term effects include liver disease, cancer, neuropsychiatric conditions, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disease (DiMartini and Neuberger, 2015). Short term effects like injury while intoxicated and let’s not forget the victims of alcohol related crimes or an unborn fetus that is exposed to alcohol in the womb (DiMartini and Neuberger 2015).
There are many victims to alcohol consumption one of the victims are babies that are in the womb that haven’t even been born. This is a continuing problem because in a year the cost of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome alone is costing over 2 billion dollars per year (Kandel et al. 2009). According to Kandel and colleagues in the article, “Alcohol-Related Cognitive Disorders: Research and Clinical Perspectives”, they state that Fetal Alcohol spectrum disorder represents disabilities that are in correlation mothers being dependent on alcohol while pregnant (Kandel et al. 2009). One of the spectrum disorders is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome this is characterized by cerebral, bodily and behavioral impairments (Kandel et al. 2009). Anywhere from five to two infants out of 1000 are diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) (Kandel et al. 2009). Neurobehavioral and neurocognitive insufficiencies are commonly seen in children with (FAS) (Kandel et al. 2009). Kandel and colleagues have also found that facial defects, central nervous system dysfunction and retardation are all characteristics of fetal alcohol syndrome but in some cases, all these physical features aren’t visible (Kandel et al. 2009). Numerous studies have shown the difference in the brains size and shape for a baby detected with FAS their brain is considerably smaller (Kandel et al. 2009). IQ scores of people that were exposed to alcohol are usually much lower in comparison to individuals without alcohol exposure (Kandel et al. 2009). Parents found that their children that were exposed to alcohol are unable to learn from their mistakes and have a difficult time taking in verbal information (Kandel et al. 2009). Alcohol is victimizing children it is also victimizing the consumer itself.
For the people who aren’t able to control their alcohol intake it can lead to liver disease (DiMartini and Neuberger 2015). According to the book Alcohol Abuse and Liver Disease, DiMartini and Neuberger state that alcohol accounts for 1.8 million deaths each year and approximately 500,000 cases of cirrhosis of the liver. Alcohol related deaths is more than double for men than for woman (DiMartini and Neuberger 2015). Alcohol is the main contributor to chronic diseases that arise because it’s been around for so long they have been able to collect data in the last 100 years (DiMartini and Neuberger 2015). First published alcohol effects were published in British medical journal in 1924 where they stated that heavy drinkers where showing a lower life expectancy than non-drinkers or casual drinkers (DiMartini and Neuberger 2015). DiMartini and Neuberger found similar observations in the U.S data during the Prohibition Era (2015). During the Prohibition Era, supply on alcohol was running low, and noticed a drastic fall in cirrhosis cases (DiMartini and Neuberger 2015).
According to the article, “Alcohol and Society: A Population Health Perspective”, Giesbrecht states that there has been a rise of alcohol related problems with society. Giesbrecht states that things like alcohol related accidents and violence have risen due to intoxication. According to the article, “Alcohol, Violence and the Media”, Buskirk and colleagues state that people that commits crimes use alcohol at a higher rate of sixty percent. According to the article “Neighborhood Income, Alcohol Availability, and Crime Rates” Gymah and Kwabena state that Buskirk and colleagues also state that Bureau of Justice Statistics stated that 41 percent of prisoners at the time of their crime admitted to being intoxicated (Gymah and Kwabena, 2006).
Offenders reported to have been under the influence of alcohol in 50 to 65 percent of rape cases (Gymah and Kwabena, 2006). Researchers found that not only the offenders, but the victim’s behavior under the influence may have put them in a dangerous situation (Gymah and Kwabena, 2006). For example, Gymah and Kwabena state that having alcohol in the body can alter a person’s judgment causing them to let their guard down and can make them easier targets to offenders of crimes like robbery, rape, and assault (2006).
According to the article, “Alcohol, Violence and the Media”, Buskirk and colleagues state that the media and newscast are accountable for downplaying alcohol. In correlation to alcohol and crime only 1.4 percent of the stories are covered by the media (Buskirk et, al 2012). According to the article Increasing support for Alcohol –Control Enforcement Through News Coverage of Alcohols Role in Injuries and Crime,” Slater and colleagues state that public health estimates state that 30% of fatalities are related to alcohol consumption. Slater and colleagues did study in which they mentioned in the news when was involved with violent crimes (Buskirk et, al 2012). Slater and colleagues found that by mentioning alcohol the people showed more support than the average person on alcohol- control laws (Buskirk et, al 2012). It is very important that more news stories state when the crime is related to alcohol. By doing so people can be more aware on just how dangerous consuming alcohol can become.
In the article “High Alcohol Concentration Products Associated with Poverty State Alcohol Policies”, Rossheim and colleagues state that products that are highly alcohol concentrated attract underage consumers and lower socioeconomic consumers. Rossheim and colleagues also state that their high alcohol levels, low prices and colorful packaging targets specific groups in our society. Four Loko was a product that they saw specifically attracted the lower socioeconomic group (Rossheim et, al 2015). Four Lokos was once combined with high levels of alcohol and caffeine which caused harm to consumers (Rossheim et, al 2015). Just in the first year that Four Lokos was sold an estimated of 1242 emergency hospital visits were recorded in relation to Four Loko (Rossheim et, al 2015). In 2011 when Four Lokos sold without caffeine the hospital visits related to Four Lokos increased to 5492 visits (Rossheim et, al 2015). In the article Rossheim states that the federal trade commission and the Food and drug Administration concluded that these drinks were causing lot of harm. Their higher levels of intoxication mixed with caffeine made consumers participate in riskier behaviors compared to consuming alcohol alone (Rossheim et, al 2015). As a result, Four Lokos products no longer have caffeine, taurine or guarine (Rossheim et, al 2015). The packaging of these drinks makes younger people more attracted to it like college students (Rossheim et, al 2015).
According to the book “Drugs, Behavior and Modern Society Alcohol” Levinthal states that in a study done by The University of Michigan they found that the average age kids begin to drink is at the age of fourteen. Thirty three percent of eighth graders reported to have been drinking and fifteen percent reported to have been drunk once in their lives (Levinthal pg 200).
As for students in college having alcohol on a regularly is more common in college students than it is in high school students (Levinthal pg. 200). Alcohol consumption is at its peak for college students that are juniors and seniors in college (Levinthal pg. 200). Levinthal states in the book that a in studies show a consistent picture of alcohol consumption in college students (Levinthal pg. 200). In this survey, data found that one in four college students are binge drinkers and 44 percent of college students claim to binge drink (Levinthal pg. 200). They also state that almost fifty percent of college students reported that they drink to get waisted and twenty-nine percent reported to getting drunk more than three times per month (Levinthal pg. 200). College students reported alcohol missing class, doing bad on test and papers, they reported doing bad in school because of alcohol (Levinthal pg. 200). College Students reported to have participated in risky behavior while under the influence of alcohol (Levinthal pg. 200). Surveys show that students had unplanned sexual intercourse or sometimes unprotected sexual intercourse (Levinthal pg. 200). There are many negative things that come with drinking alcohol. Alcohol can make you engage in dangerous activity like driving.
“An estimated of 700 college students die each year of alcohol related deaths and mainly motor vehicle accidents” (Levinthal pg. 200). If caught driving while intoxicated can be charged as a (DUI) criminal offense (Anon 2019). Driving under the influence of alcohol puts every driver out on the road including yourself at a high risk of a car accident (Anon 2019). According to the Alcohol Rehab Guide, “Driving with a blood alcohol content level of at least 0.08 percent is you committing a DUI offense” (Anon 2019). According to the Alcohol Rehab Guide, driving intoxicated is dangerous because in order to operate a motorized vehicle you must be able to pay full attention to your surroundings (Anon 2019). The Alcohol Rehab Guide state that the influence of alcohol in your system it can slow down your reaction time and increase your chances of being in an accident (Anon 2019). The Alcohol Rehab Guide also states, when intoxicated there is a lack of coordination, reduced concentration, blurred vision and impaired judgement (Anon 2019). DUI and deaths have become so common that they have even made it a law that driving under the influence is not permitted.
There are many measures that we can take to lower the crime rate when it comes to alcohol. Gymah and Kwabena state in the article “Neighbor Income, Alcohol Availability, and Crime Rates” state that by raising the prices of alcohol the alcohol relate accidents and crime goes down. According to the article, “Effects of Alcohol Beverage Prices and Legal Drinking Ages on Youth Alcohol Use”, Coate and Grossman state that the federal government noticed alcohol abuse in relation to motor vehicle accident. They also state that in beginning something that they did which is still used today is put a legal alcohol consumers age for the public (Coate and Grossman, 1988). This began to trend and in 1967, Minnesota where they decided 19 years of age was a good age for consuming alcohol (Coate and Grossman, 1988). “When the federal uniform drinking age act was passed in 1984, twenty-seven states changed their legal drinking age” (Coate and Grossman, 1988). Today the minimum drinking age has risen to 21 years of age.
In conclusion alcohol can have an overall negative impact on society. Alcohol has been around for centuries and will continue to be around for many more. The problem we need to deal with now is how to control alcohol in a way were people don’t abuse it and harm others as well as themselves. Alcohol has been proven to be present when crimes are committed (Gymah and Kwabena, 2006). They have also shown to cause disease and cause irreversible harm to victims. Alcohol targets lower socioeconomic people (Rossheim et, al 2015). Alcohol attracts college students and when consumed impairs their judgement making them take poor decisions (Levinthal pg. 200). Banning alcohol before has showed that this drug is dependable because of all the illegal consuming. Alcohol related deaths and crimes are high and will continue to stay that way if society does not see alcohol for what it truly is, a DRUG.