Underage Drinking at Hanover

With Homecoming having been finished for a while now, hopefully most of you have gotten out of your hangovers and are able to read this article without seeing a pink elephant dancing in the corner.

To me underage drinking is just something to laugh about, as it always happens to someone else’s friend and the story always end with the guy waking up the next morning with a headache and everything being a-okay. But for many people underage drinking is not a laughing matter, particularly Mr. Smith.

Before I talk about this issue, I read up on the facts to see how big of a problem underage drinking is in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control, a survey was taken in 2011, in which 15,425 questionnaires (it’s very important to look at where a statistic comes from rather than just blindly accepting it to be perfect) given to students grades 9-12 from 158 schools were analyzed. The results stated that within one average month, 39% of high school students drank alcohol, 22% binge drank, and 8% drove while under the influence. An interesting bit of info it stated was that children under the age of 16 who drink alcohol on a regular basis are five times more likely to become addicted to alcohol. Seeing that freshmen or sophomores are rarely invited to insane parties or drinking events, it looks like we don’t have too much information about them until they become Juniors.

The CDC also listed many of the consequences that have been attributed to drinking while underage. Examples include declining academic performance, memory problems, heightened violent or aggressive behavior, higher risk of suicide, death from alcohol poisoning, heightened risk of sexual assault or being sexually assaulted, and disruption of normal growth and sexual development. That’s right, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol consumption can lower testosterone levels in men (and lower estrogen levels in women), which can lead to low sex drive, fatigue, and erectile dysfunction. Do I have your attention now?

Getting back on topic, Mr. Smith has stated that keeping the students alcohol free is a big priority, so big that it sometimes seems impossible to accomplish. There are around 725 students in the building at any given time, and it is impossible to monitor every single one all the time. The best that the staff can do is to make sure that between the hours of 8 AM to 3 PM (2 PM on Wednesdays) students aren’t in the possession of or under the influence of alcohol. After that it is up to the Police and Parents of students to prevent them from consuming alcohol.

In regards to my opening line, Mr. Smith has confirmed that drinking is a major problem at school events such as sports games and dances. At one point last year, an ambulance had to come to the school twice in one week for two separate events. That event has led to the decision to bar Juniors and Seniors from lower class dances, as the main instigators of underage drinking seem to come from those two groups. He stated that there just aren’t enough chaperones to watch out for alcohol and sexual behavior at dances (If it was up to me I would pay out of my own pocket to hire Blackwater Security to chaperone dances for the sole reason of preventing any “twerking” on the dance floor).

It all boils down to a personal choice we all have to make: do you want to act like a responsible adult, or do you want to act like a complete idiot/loser like we see on reality TV shows.