Struggling Against Teenage Drinking Essay
Introduction and Summary
Teenage drinking has become a serious epidemic in America. According to an article published in The New York Times on September 19, 2003, the scourge of teenage drinking has become impossible to manage. The article paints the true picture of the American drinking culture. Prohibition has failed terribly to the extent that lawmakers have remained silent on the menace of teenage drinking. A report from National Academy of Sciences reveals that the battle against teenage drinking can be won were all stakeholders to be engaged. The National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine appointed a panel on teenage drinking. The panel discovered very disturbing evidence that teenagers drink more than adults. It is shocking that over 25% of senior high school students consume more than five drinks in a row. Teenage drinking has had serious negative impacts on the individual students and those around them. Presently, the number of teenagers involved in drinking surpasses those smoking and other drugs.
There has been a weak response by the nation in terms of the seriousness of teenage drinking. The academy has thus called upon individuals and institutions to take the issue seriously. Various suggestions have been made by the panel on appropriate measures to fight the teenage drinking menace. For instance, it is proposed that restraint is put on adverts made by the alcohol industry. It is also proposed that the federal government finances a media campaign to discourage teenage drinking by adults. Furthermore, a crackdown on stores selling alcohol to teenagers is encouraged. The panel also recommends rating to be made on films and music that encourage drinking behavior. The recommendations by the panel have been criticized by the alcoholic industry accusing the panel of ‘neo-prohibitionism’ and perpetuating anti-alcohol agenda. Nevertheless, anti-alcohol agenda is the solution to the scourge of teenage drinking.
Critical analysis
In view of the arguments put forward through the article, it is clearly evident that the American society is headed into very bad future. The society has embraced alcoholism as a way of life that seems acceptable for everyone. Teenagers have embraced alcoholism with zeal and zest without caring about the negative implications alcohol has on their wealth. Although the vast majority of the Americans dislike the fact that teenagers are abusing alcohol, there seems to be no serious measures to curtail such behaviors. The article appreciates that all stakeholders have reached a helpless level on managing the problem of teenage drinking. The political class is expected to chart the way forward through serious legislations in stopping teenage drinking. However, as the article rightly argues, they are doing very little or nothing at all.
Even as reports continue to trickle in pertaining to the appalling rates of teenage drinking, little effort is being seen from policymakers. Based on recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences, the battle against teenage drinking can only be won through collaborative effort by all relevant stakeholders in the society. The government needs to lead the war by cracking the whip on errant sellers whose desire is only to make huge sales revenue and profits. Such sellers should be punished severely through such penalties as revocation of licenses and very exorbitant fines among other severe punishments. Perhaps the evidence from the academy’s panel should be a source of worry to the American community. It is clear that teenagers drink far much more that the adults.
The problems associated with teenage alcoholism, and indeed abuse of alcohol at whatever age, are immense. Teenage alcoholism can be associated with numerous evils. For instance, teenage alcoholism increases dropout rates in schools. People who quit school due to alcoholism definitely end up being social burdens. They end up into crime. Criminal activities are a source of serious discomforts in the American community and all communities with criminals. Teenage drinking has not been not been taken seriously by the American society although the issue is of major concern. Indeed, the society has ignored the ménage of teenage drinking. For the problem to be overcome, it is essential that all stakeholders throw their weight into it. It is important that the government commits resources to fight teenage drinking through extensive media campaigns.
The stringent measures suggested by the academy’s panel have aroused concerns from the alcohol industry. While most of the suggestions are good, it is also important to consider that the alcohol industry needs to make revenue. This is an important industry for the economy and therefore careful measures need to be implemented to stop teenage drinking while still salving the industry. Measures such as restriction of advertising do not seem appropriate for the industry. It is important to keep in mind that the target of the campaign is to eliminate teenage drinking and not crippling the mammoth alcohol industry. Clearly, the campaign on teenage drinking should involve all stakeholders. It is important that the government leads the pack in the fight against teenage drinking. It is also important for all stakeholders including the alcoholic industry to work together in eliminating teenage drinking.
Reference
The New York Times. (2003). Struggling Against Teenage Drinking. The New York Times, Sptember 19, 2003. Retrieved on Thursday, October 17, 2013 from http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/19/opinion/struggling-against-teenage-drinking.html.
 
 

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