How can underage drinking affect your teen?

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2019 | juvenile crimes |

Teens face daily struggles and stress. Social media pressures kids to look their best, participate in risky behavior and outperform their peers, which makes rejecting behaviors that may get them in trouble tougher.

Even with Georgia laws that criminalize underage drinking, many teens continue to take their chances. As high school youths transition into young adulthood, the stakes for underage drinking get higher. Discover how alcohol use at an early age may impact your teen now and in the future.

Legal ramifications

For drivers over the age of 21, a BAC of .08 or higher may land them with a DUI charge. However, anyone under 21 may find themselves in legal hot water if a breathalyzer registers a BAC of .02. The purpose of the lower threshold is to stop underage drinking and driving. A BAC of .02 is typically less than one drink. This means that any amount of alcohol a young driver consumes may land him or her in cuffs. If the person is 18 or older, a conviction may remain on her or his criminal record for life. This may affect everything from college admission and financial aid to future job prospects.

Physical changes 

Brain development continues from birth through a person’s 20s. The teen brain continues to grow, and vital areas governing things such as decision-making are still forming at the age of 18. Alcohol may impede the brain, mainly if a teen participates in binge drinking. This practice involves drinking dangerous amounts of alcohol at one time, usually during parties. The oversaturation of alcohol in the brain may lead to developmental hindrance.

Gateway substance

Alcohol lowers inhibition, leading to risky behavior. Teens who drink may start trying other things, such as drugs, at a much earlier age. A correlation may also exist between early drinkers and escalating criminal behavior. Because alcohol is typically easier for an underage person to obtain, it may serve as a gateway to other, more harmful choices.

Your teen’s health and well-being may rank high on your list. Educating your son or daughter on the dangers of early drinking and the impact on his or her future may help stop this dangerous practice from starting.