Despite the actions taken to prevent underage drinking, the specified issue still remains a major problem in the United States. The state law, which prohibits selling alcohol to underage people, does not prevent teenagers from engaging in drinking.
However, these are not only the immediate risks such as the threat of an injury in case of drunk driving that people should be concerned about when it comes to underage drinking. When getting out of control, the issue evolves into binge drinking, therefore, becoming a disease. Spreading awareness on the subject matter can be viewed as an efficient way of dealing with the issue.
Introduction: Underage Drinking
The issue of underage drinking has been on the social. agenda for a while (Hudson, Wekerle, & Stewart, 2015); however, it has not been up until the past few years that the problem started getting out of control. Moreover, studies show that the rates of teenage drinking have only grown compared to previous years.
Although a lot is currently done to handle the problem of teenage drinking, additional strategies involving the use of modern media for targeting young people need to be considered.
The Issue and Its Development: Binge Drinking
Recent studies show that a variety of risk factors, such as sensation seeking, and character traits, such as anxiety and attention seeking, can be viewed as the prime risk factors for underage drinking to occur. Additionally, “personality factors may increase susceptibility to alcohol abuse by encouraging risky motives for drinking” (Hudson et al., 2015, p. 84).
Therefore, starting as a comparatively harmless attempt at becoming more sociable and having fun with new friends, underage drinking often turns into the phenomenon known as binge drinking. Binge drinking is traditionally defined as uncontrolled and consistent dinking (Ramirez, Monti, & Colwill, 2015) and is considered one of the greatest issues in the contemporary American society.
State Policies on Underage Drinking
The state law sets several restrictions as far as selling alcohol is concerned. However, these restrictions are not as rigid as they should be; for instance, underage drinking is considered legal in 45 states under specific circumstances (Disney & LaVallee, 2013).
According to the U.S. legislation, in 45 states, alcohol is not to be sold to underage customers by any organization, nor can young people drink in public (Healey, Rahman, Faizal, & Kinderman, 2014). Nevertheless, the aforementioned regulations do not guarantee that teenagers should refrain from drinking.
Measures for Addressing Underage Drinking
Raising awareness on the problem and providing young people with the information required to understand the effects of drinking at young age is currently the only opportunity to bring teenage drinking rates down.
The idea of raising awareness, however, can be explored deeper by incorporating innovative information technology into the process. Particularly, the use of modern media, including social networks, should be viewed as a chance to draw enough attention to the issue (Ramirez et al., 2013).
Conclusion and Recommendations
The problem of underage drinking has grown to be very significant over the past few years. Moreover, detailed studies have shown that teenage drinking, while often viewed as harmless pastime, often triggers further complications, such as binge drinking.
The issue under analysis has been addressed from the legal perspective, yet the current measures are not enough for stopping underage drinking from occurring. It is assumed that modern technology may assist in spreading awareness and bringing underage drinking rates down.
Disney, L. D., & LaVallee, R. A. (2013). The effect of internal possession laws on underage drinking among high school students: A 12-state analysis. American Journal of Public Health, 103(6), 1090–1095.
Healey, C., Rahman, A., Faizal, M., & Kinderman, P. (2014). Underage drinking in the UK: Changing trends, impact and interventions. A rapid evidence synthesis. International Journal of Drug Policy, 25(1), 124–132.
Hudson, A., Wekerle, C., & Stewart, S. H. (2015). Associations between personality and drinking motives in adolescents involved in the child welfare system. Personality and Individual Differences, 81(1), 84–89.
Ramirez, J. J., Monti, P. M., & Colwill, R. M. (2015). Alcohol-cue exposure effects on craving and attentional bias in underage college-student drinkers. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 29(2), 317–322.