Alcohol Abuse Facts

It can be difficult for children to understand all of the different aspects of alcohol use and abuse; why drinking is OK for some people and not for others; why you have to be a certain age to drink alcoholic beverages; and why they are told "not to do something" that the person telling them does themselves. This obvious contradiction could confuse anyone.

Alcohol is a "mind-altering" depressant drug that, when consumed excessively, will impair your judgement, perception, emotions and phyical control.

It is necessary for a parent or other role model to discuss alcohol consumption with a child and explain some of the basic facts and promote healthy drinking habits while outlining the dangers of abusive drinking. Below are some points you may wish to cover in initiating alcohol awareness in your children.

NOTE: If YOU abuse alcohol then your children will likely follow your example. They want to be "just like you".

Moderation - For most adults, small amounts of alcohol are harmless and have become part of many social activities and celebrations.

Control - The most important thing about alcohol is to make sure that you control it rather than letting it contol you. It is possible to make responsible decisions about using alcohol and develop "normal drinking habits". By drinking slowly in a relaxed atmosphere, knowing how much is too much, not drinking on an empty stomach and obeying laws pertaining to alcohol use, a person can use alcohol responsibly rather than abuse it.

Alcoholism - For many reasons, some known and some unknown, a person can develop a dependency on alcohol (both in thier mind and in their body) and suffer from a serious illness that is very difficult to control and virtually impossible to cure. There are many treatments ranging from anti-addictive drugs to group therapy and peer-support such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Incidentally, "liquid courage" is a significant contributing factor to many of our common criminal investigations including domestic assaults, mischief to property and impaired operation of motorized vehicles.

Saying "NO" To Alcohol - Many young people and adults would rather not us alcohol but find it difficult to abstain when they are in social situation where the majority of people are drinking.

There are many reasons why someone might choose not to drink alcohol at all:

  • Someone they care about was hurt or killed by alcohol (directly or indirectly)
  • They don't feel that they "NEED" alcohol to have a good time
  • They don't allow peer pressure to force them into consuming alcohol
  • They don't like the feelings that intoxication brings with it
  • They don't allow advertising gimmicks to push them into drinking

Experimenting With Alcohol - Many young people are tempted to experiment with alcoholic beverages for a variety of reasons, such as wanting to fell more "grown-up", giving into peer pressure, curiosity about the feelings that alcohol can give, etc.

There are some facts that a young person should be aware of before he or she decides to drink:

  • Alcohol can have a more profound effect on young people because of their smaller size and tolerance.
  • Alcohol can interfere with your normal growth and development
  • Alcohol will not solve any of your problems... it will give you one more.
  • Intoxication will make you do things that you would normally consider wrong?
  • Violating the laws governing buying or drinking alcohol could get you into trouble with police and result in temporary imprisonment, heavy fines and possible criminal charges.

Educating youth about responsible drinking habits is a very important task. Most children want guidance and direction and need the support and assistance from adults in understanding the issues related to alcohol use and abuse and the pressures that they are faced with from the media, their peers and their own natural curiosity.