Youth Voice: Underage Drinking and Peer Pressure

Written by Rebecca M., Sprout Volunteer

Some teens think drinking is the only way that they can have fun during a party. As we all know it is summer time and summer activities create more risks for underage drinking. This is because the teens are hanging out more with their friends compared to the time spent during the school year. Teenagers and their friends are hanging out, going to graduation parties, bon-fires and beach parties at night or during the day as well. All these type of parties have the pressure of having alcohol for teens to drink. Most kids will drink the alcohol because, they don’t want to be the one made fun of or seen as a sissy for not drinking. The pressure for teens at any party or gathering to drink alcohol is higher than ever.

I know every adult tells their kids, students, family members “Don’t Drink”, “Don’t Drink until you are 21”. As I approach my senior year of high school, I can tell you the pressure is always there for underage drinking. I hear my classmates in the halls and in class talking about parties they went to over the weekend. I hear how trashed they got and don’t remember how they got home. I hear some classmates talking about they got their second or third DUI for underage drinking. So maybe if the pressure wasn’t so great to drink, teenagers would remember how they got home. They wouldn’t be grounded and trying to find a way to pay that nice fine they got for DUI. All because they wanted to just have some fun with their friends for awhile. While drinking it seems all fun and games, everyone is having a good time, laughing no pressure no worries no nothing. What happens though when it is time to drive home and you had one too many drinks for your body? What happens if you have to drive home? What happens if you never make it home because you were too drunk to drive and were going to be late, so you speed home and crash; what then? Most parents will be upset if you call and ask if they could come and get you from the party or a friend’s house. In the long run hearing the punishment, if you get one, is worth it because, driving and being drunk puts so many lives in danger. Take the punishment over risking your life and others lives on the roadway. “Don’t Drink and Drive”.

There are ways, several ways for avoiding underage drinking. Like don’t hang with the crowd that drinks and thinks that drinking is the only way to have fun. Trust me there are several other ways to have fun minus the drinking and all the pressure that the drinking has to offer. If you know the party will have alcohol and you are still going offer to be the driver if you can drive. If you can’t drive ask someone else who hasn’t been drinking to take you where you need to be so your life is not at stake. The simplest thing would be not to drink, but the pressure is there and most teens always give into peer pressure so play it safe and be careful.

For example my friends and I go downtown to the block parties instead of drinking and going to wild parties. Some may say I must sound like I don’t know how to have fun but, I don’t want to put my life and the lives of others at risk. Drinking now is not all that fun if you look back when you get older. I am sure most of those drunken nights will be forgotten about so why bother. Instead you can look back on memories that were made with friends doing something like the block parties, or 8great Tuesdays, Glow bowling on the weekends. My friends and I choose to find stuff to do that doesn’t involve the pressure of the drinking.