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Affects Of Alcohol

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Alcohol: Best or Worst Times of Life?

Alcohol has many dangerous effects and should be banned. That being said, what exactly IS alcohol? Alcohol is a clear liquid at room temperature, it is flammable and it can be dissolved in water. Alcohol is usually produced in two main ways: fermentation or distillation. The alcohol found in alcoholic beverages such as beer or wine is known as ethyl alcohol. Alcohol is rarely found in a pure form. In beer, the ethanol concentration is only 4 to 6 percent. In wine the ethanol concentration is 7 to 11 percent and in champagne 8 to 14 percent. In distilled spirits such as rum or vodka, ethanol concentration can be anywhere from 45 to 90 percent! Alcohol has made its way into western culture; from the good tasting beverage to have after work to the "cool" thing to do in front of all your friends. The United States has tried to ban alcohol consumption. The Prohibition in 1919 occurred when the 18th amendment was approved; this outlawed the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors. However, the ban on liquor was highly unsuccessful. Crime rates shot sky high and the demand for liquor was as high as ever. However, the 18th amendment was repealed by the 21st in 1933 (Mason 2). Where the 18th amendment failed, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 succeeded. The National minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 required that all states change their legal drinking age. If the states refused to comply with this new law, the state would lose its money under the Federal Aid Highway Act (Mason 1). This only proves the point further that alcohol is dangerous and should be banned for a variety of reasons: it has many negative effects on youth, it causes a lot of damage inside the home and out, and there are many physically ill effects.

Alcohol has many negative effects on youth. Some of the most influential factors in a youth's decision to drink are parents and peers. However, past and present research has shown that alcohol advertising also has a significant impact by 'influencing the attitudes of parents and peers and helping to create an environment that promotes underage drinking. (CAMY 1). Youth are easily influenced through television advertisements. "A 1996 study of children age's nine to eleven found that children were more familiar with Budweiser's television frogs than Kellogg's Tony the Tiger, the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, or Smokey the Bear (CAMY 1). This is related with another fact, that the children that were more aware of these advertisements are more likely to drink as adults, than the children that did not know as much about the advertisements. Early addiction to alcohol would cause the obvious financial problems, as well as the physical ones. However, youth/underage drinking not only damages the person themselves, but also damages the rest of society. A recent study shows that the cost of alcohol use by youth was $53 billion in 1996 including $19 billion from traffic crashes and $29 from violent crime (CAMY 1). Alcohol may also affect the adolescent brain more than the rest of the body. New research shows that early heavy alcohol use may have negative effects on the actual physical development of the brain structure (CAMY 1). We all know that youth's may not have the best sense of judgment, and this is clearly evident by the numbers of drinking and driving. In 1996, drivers ages 21-24 had the highest intoxication rates (27%) for fatal crashes (TSF 1). Drinking is also not good for the youth's grades. A clear relationship exists between alcohol use and grade-point average. Students with GPAs of D's or F's drink three times as much as those who earn A's (Presley and Meilman 32). All of these negative consequences would take place if a youth were to participate in drinking-that is if the youth managed to stay out of reach of the law. There are many legal consequences of underage drinking, as well as the effects on the body and mind. A first offense of possession by a minor is a fine up to $500, 8-12 hours of community service and a 30-day suspension of license. A last offense is punishable by a fine anywhere from $250-$2,000, jail time for up to 180 days and an automatic suspension of driver's license. I don't think Mom and Pops are going to be too happy to see that one.

Alcohol is responsible for many crimes inside the home and out. In fact, a recent study shows that alcohol is a factor in 40% of violent crimes. Among the 3 million violent crimes that happen each year, their victims think that the offender has been drinking at the time of their offense. Among the victims who could provide information about the offender, 35% happenings involved an offender who had been drinking. Two-thirds of the alcohol involved crimes were characterized as just simple assaults. (Buddy T 2) Inside of the home, recent studies also show that men are more likely to abuse partners on the days that they drink. Studies show that the odds of any occurrence of male-female aggression are eight times higher on days when the male drinks alcohol. Compared to days with no alcohol consumption, the odds of male-female aggression after heavy drinking (six drinks or more) is 18 times higher. (RIA 2) The violent episodes would occur during or after the drinking had happened. Any individuals that were found to be having a severe alcohol misuse problem would engage in partner violence regardless of how much they have drunk or the time. Participants in this study were males with a known violent history towards partners. It is unclear whether or not these same results would apply to the general population (RIA 2). In the general population, alcoholic consumption or even heavy drinking does not lead to domestic violence (RIA 2). However, the results from this study show that alcohol has some kind of role in relation to anger and marital relationships. This



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