Alcohol is a part of most people’s lives from their teens onwards. Experimentation with alcohol begins at an early age, typically in the form of a glass of wine shared with parents. Children’s behaviour and attitudes are strongly influenced by their parents and the world around them, particularly as portrayed in the media. And like the portrayal of violence the portrayal of drinking leads to imitation. It’s the parents responsibility to teach their kids to drink sensibly. Normally they seldom talk with their children about alcohol because they are in two minds about whether their children should be drinking at all. Parents who don’t allow their children to drink at home turn a blind eye to their drinking at parties where there is nor adult supervision. But however socially acceptable, wide-spread and common alcohol is, it is still a potentially dangerous drug. The dangers of alcohol are overlooked because of concerns about drugs. Many people act as though cigarettes or ecstasy can do more damage. And problems related with alcohol are continuing to increase. There are a lot of national charities determined to educate people about the dangers of alcohol. It recommends that men drink no more than 21 units of alcohol per week, women no more than 14 (women have less water in their bodies than men, so they get drunk more quickly and feel the effects longer because they have less water available to dilute the drink). A unit is a glass of wine, one small glass of spirits or half a pint of beer or lager. Young people generally keep to this limit. The trouble is that many of them down more than half the weekly limit (dangerous amounts) on one evening. They don’t understand the risks they are taking. As a result they get drunk, lose their inhibitions, become violent, drink and drive or and up with an unwanted pregnancy. In a word: It affects all aspects of a teenager’s life. Currently there is a scheme for schools called “Skills for Adolescence” which will make children to be better equipped to deal with the temptations of drugs. It aims to enable them to make informed decisions about such things, rather than simply trying them because everybody else does. Alcohol is not the key to enjoying yourself. It lowers your inhibitions and makes you merry for a short time. It also makes it harder to co-ordinate or reason. Pretty soon you are behaving in a way you would never dream of normally, or you are starting to feel dizzy or just plain sick. Staying sober has more benefits than you might realise. You have nothing to regret the next morning because you have been in control all night.
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