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Specific Speech Purpose: To convince my audience of the necessity of enforcing the underage drinking laws, in order to save lives.
Thesis: Something many of you probably do not know is that alcohol is the most consumed and abused substance in America by its’ youth. (Andrea Nakaya, Underage Drinking).
Each and every day scores of teenagers are having their first taste of alcohol. This computes to approximately twenty-nine percent or (about ten point eight million Americans from the ages of twelve to twenty have had a drink in the past thirty days (Andrea Nakaya, Underage Drinking). This is fast becoming an epidemic and most Americans do not realize it is happening. Underage drinking is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed. Underage drinking has the potential to interfere with the development of the brains of youths and create a whole host of other problems.
The time that kids spend in high school is very important as it sets up kids for life and higher education.
It is at this time that are trying to set themselves up to attend a college of their choice. Something that should not be surprising is that approximately two-thirds of students that do well academically do not engage in underage drinking. Juxtaposed to those students who do drink and are not passing most of their classes. Studies have shown that children who drink become socially withdrawn and are prone to avoiding family and friends in favor of drinking. Once a person becomes addicted to the consumption of alcohol they can and do ignore every day
tasks that are a part of their lives.
Possibly not bathing, not eating and not attending classes because they are more concerned where their next drink is coming from. Drinking is much more harmful to children because their brains are still developing. Nakaya, states that teenagers become at risk for behavioral problems and adjusting as adults if they succumbed to underage drinking (Drinking Impairs). The facts point to a situation where teenagers who drank had a harder time getting their lives together than teenagers who do not drink.
Underage drinking also impairs a person’s judgment and causes them to act recklessly and to get themselves into trouble more frequently than children who do not engage in underage drinking. And in a lot of cases of underage drinkers will experiment with other substances with dire consequences. It has also been noted that teens who drank prior to reaching the age of fifteen were more likely to develop substance abuse problems (Nakaya, Underage Drinking). Alcohol is also responsible for a large number of kids who engage in sexual activity. Currently, underage drinkers are two times more likely to have had sexual intercourse within the past three months than underage teens who do not drink (Dangers).
Another interesting piece of information is that 95% of all violent crimes on college campuses across our Nation involves underage drinking (Andrea Nakaya, Underage Drinking). College should be a safe place for students and being a victim of an alcohol-related crime should not be something that they have to worry about. Other horrible statistics related to underage drinking are the numbers of rapes committed which is approximately 45%,44% of robberies, and 37% of all other reported assaults. This article also shows that 50% of those crimes were alcohol-related. A person under the influence of alcohol may be more inclined to experiment with other illicit drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy, mali and cocaine. It was also noted that teens who consumed alcoholic beverages were more likely to smoke marijuana, use inhalants and to carry a weapon or weapons (Dangers of Teenage Drinking).
Melissa Abrahms argues that Young people are more susceptible to a drug’s effects than adults; and this is because the brains of teens are still developing, and alcohol consumption stunts that growth. While in adults it can cause a myriad of medical conditions the most severe being cirrhosis of the liver. And in pregnant mothers it can cause a medical condition in the unborn child referred to as fetal alcohol syndrome for which there is no cure. One would think that with all of the negative conditions that can and do arise from drinking that our government would take underage drinking more seriously.
In order to save our youth, it is imperative that underage drinking laws being enforced. Or we are going to have a generation of adults suffering from a whole host of alcohol-related problems. It should be noted that once brain cells have been damaged or destroyed they do not regenerate and if destroyed or damaged, that person has to live with those consequences. As I stated earlier in my presentation is the possibility of brain damage to underage drinkers which has the potential to be long term and permanent (Andrea Nakaya, Underage Drinking).
Another consequence of underage drinking is alcohol poisoning and it occurs more frequently than people realize. Most underage drinkers are still growing; therefore, alcohol can also affect their growth. People ages twenty-one or older who have drunk alcohol before the age of fourteen were more than six times as likely to report alcohol dependence or abuse than people who first used alcohol at twenty-one or older (Andrea Nakaya, Underage Drinking).
Binge drinking is another problem that underage drinkers get involved in doing at parties and frat houses for the pledge. And students’ youths have died as a result of binge drinking that can cause alcohol poisoning which can and does lead to death in a lot of cases. About 6% of fourteen-year-olds, 18% of sixteen-year-olds, 33% of eighteen-year-olds, and 44% of twenty-year-olds have engaged in binge drinking in the last thirty days (Andrea Nakaya, Underage Drinking). Binge drinking increases the likelihood of all the effects of alcohol (Dangers of Teenage Drinking).
It is also more dangerous for teens to drink because they are doing it illegally and could face criminal prosecution. Another major factor to enforce underage drinking laws is the amount of deaths in America caused by that group. And it has been documented that alcohol is responsible for more deaths than all other illicit drugs combined (Andrea Nakaya). The U.S Surgeon General reports that 5,000 kids under the age of twenty-one die each year as a result of underage drinking, this includes crashes, homicides, and suicides (Dangers of Underage Drinking). Drinking drivers ages of sixteen to twenty are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as drinking drivers who are twenty-one or older (Dangers of Underage Drinking).
The cost to society by underage youth consuming alcohol was 53 billion dollars in 1996, and 19 billion of that was as a result of automobile accidents (Consequences of Underage Drinking). That is money that could be better used elsewhere like educating kids to the dangers of drinking in the first place. Alcohol use can cause depression and stress, which contributes to approximately 300 teen suicides a year (Dangers of Underage Drinking). With numbers like this it is difficult to comprehend why more isn’t being done to combat underage drinking given all of the harm it does to our society.
And in closing, I want to emphasize the need to rigorously enforce the legal drinking laws in order to save lives and prevent preventable medical conditions. It will give children a chance to grow up and become adults and have families of their own. It will save the lives of families who could have potentially been in the path of an underage drinker behind the wheel of a car. It could prevent a young woman or man from becoming the victim of a sexual assault. I think that we can all see where I am going with this and it is that the laws of underage drinking simply need to be enforced, period.
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