Alcohol is perhaps the most widely consumed drug in America. It’s cheap, easy to acquire, and legal for most of us. Even so, there are serious consequences for driving under the influence of alcohol, or to be ‘drunk and disorderly’ in public. Serious punishments are meted out due to the serious effects of alcohol. It is not trivial, nor is it risk free.
Here are some facts about alcohol and its consumption:
- Alcohol affects your brain. Drinking causes a loss of coordination, slowed down reflexes, distorted vision, and black-outs.
- Alcohol affects your body. The body absorbs alcohol into the bloodstream, from where it can damage any organ in the body. Drinking increases your risks of cancer and other life threatening diseases.
- Alcohol can hurt and kill you. Alcohol impairs people’s judgment. Just being present around people who are drinking increases anyone’s risk of being affected by violent behavior, such as fighting, assaults, or car crashes.
For teens and youth, the dangers of alcohol are even worse. Teens’ brains and bodies are still developing. People who consume alcohol by age 15 are five times more likely to become dependent on alcohol than those who began drinking after age 21. People who become alcoholics showed symptoms of alcoholism –such as binge drinking—as early as 19. Furthermore, alcohol is a depressant which decreases brain activity. This means that if a teen was depressed before he or she began drinking, then drinking will only make that person more depressed.