The AP is carrying an article on underage drinking, which is staggering when you stop to think about it.
Nearly a third of high school students say they binge drink at least once a month, according to a report that says underage drinkers now account for 25 percent of the alcohol consumed in this country.
–Eighty-seven percent of adults who drink had their first drink before age 21.
–The gender gap for drinking is disappearing. Female ninth-graders were just as likely to be drinkers as male ninth-graders.
–Eighty-one percent of high school students have consumed alcohol, compared with 70 percent who have smoked cigarettes and 47 percent who have used marijuana.
–Most teens who experiment with alcohol continue using it. Among high school seniors who had tried alcohol, 91.3 percent still were drinking in the 12th grade.
–The percentage of teens who drink on binges — 31 percent among high school students
When I was in high school 15 years ago, this was the pattern among my friends. I, luckily, ended up with an allergy to alcohol, so I didn’t consume as my friends did, but nothing in this survey surprises me, sadly. Of course my friends and I grew up in New York City and in that environment I think we were exposed to drugs & alcohol at an earlier age than most.
Here again I wonder about the commercial interests of the alcohol manufacturers. If 25% of the market for alcohol is consumed illegally, and that 25% went away through enforcement or whatever, all of those businesses would suffer significant losses. Are we, as a capitalistic society willing to let Anheiser Busch lose 25% of it’s market share and 25% of it’s market value in order to ensure that our children don’t become alcoholics or kill each other and others in drunk driving accidents?
Is this the price we pay for a capitalistic democracy?
This is cool though…
The report includes a landmark survey of 900 adults which reveals that Americans overwhelmingly support cracking down on underage drinking:
- 76 percent believe parents should be held legally responsible for teen drinking.
- 86 percent call for restrictions on home delivery of alcohol.
- 74 percent support restrictions on alcohol advertising.
- 54 percent support increasing taxes on alcohol.