It is a well-known fact that alcoholism is a severe illness that damages an individual’s physical and mental health. However, due to easy accessibility and low costs, many people around the world have already become severely addicted to this substance. According to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 136.7 million Americans aged 12 or older were the current alcohol users in 2016. The menace of alcoholism has spread across populations of every age in the U.S., including youngsters. In 2016, about one in five adolescents aged 12 to 20 consumed alcohol.
The marked increase in underage drinking is primarily due to the common misconception that alcohol is a safer option than other addictive substances. As a result, alcohol has emerged as an essential ingredient of every celebration and social event where even adolescents are exposed to drinking. Despite being aware about the dangerous consequences of alcohol to an individual, the practice of serving alcohol at parties continues.
According to a recent study, conducted by the researchers from the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the UCL Institute of Education and Pennsylvania State University, one in six parents allow their children to drink alcohol by the age of 14 to develop the art of responsible drinking. Denouncing such practices and beliefs, researchers have highlighted that children who are allowed to drink from an early age are more likely to perform poor at school, have behavioral issues and deal with more alcohol-related problems as adults.
Socioeconomic parameters define the risk of underage drinking
The study was based on the Millennium Cohort Study conducted on over 10,000 children born in the United Kingdom (U.K.) at the turn of the century. The researchers tried linking the drinking habits and attitude toward drinking of parents with the information available on their family structure, employment status and educational qualification.
As per the study, it is quite common among the well-educated parents of white children to allow their kids to drink at the age of 14. However, similar trends were not seen among the unemployed and lesser-educated parents. Unlike popular misconceptions, even people from minority groups did not encourage their children to indulge in drinking.
Though having well-educated parents is considered a protective factor for children, early exposure to alcohol increases adverse consequences. It was also revealed that heavily drinking and moderately drinking parents were similar in their likeliness to let their children drink. On the contrary, parents who do not drink are not likely to allow their children to drink.
According to Jennifer Maggs, lead author of the study, “Parents of socially advantaged children may believe that allowing children to drink will teach them responsible use or may in fact inoculate them against dangerous drinking. However, there is little research to support these ideas.”
Seek help for recovery
Katherine Brown, Chief Executive of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, supported the advice given by the chief medical officer not allowing the children before the age of 15 to drink. She supported her views by highlighting the fact that alcohol is an addictive substance that can harm children as their bodies and brains are still undergoing development.
However, researchers are concerned that the above recommendation of Brown may not be reaching the parents. Therefore, it is essential to spread adequate awareness among parents about alcohol-related problems. They should be guided about alcohol use among kids through the mediums like social campaigns. Even doctors and schools can play a pivotal role in overcoming underage drinking.
It is important for every individual to understand that no amount of alcohol is safe for the users. Therefore, one must avoid using alcohol as it could lead to fatal results, including death.
If you or someone you know is addicted to alcohol and looking for information about the alcohol treatment centers in California, contact the Alcohol Addiction Helpline of California. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1715 or chat online with our experts to know more about the inpatient treatment for alcoholism in California offered at our treatment facilities.Continue reading