Views on Teen Drinking

Rhiannon Horton, Reporter

With a student body population of close to 1,900, it’s safe to say the students at West High represent the full spectrum of the typical American teenage life; including making choices about drinking alcohol. Drinking and doing drugs are not uncommon for American teenagers, but do they really know the consequences?

A 2013 survey of high school students by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that in the last 30 days 35 percent of teens drank some amount of alcohol, 21 percent binge drank and 10 percent drove after drinking. In persons under 21 years old, 90 percent of alcohol consumed is in the form of binge drinking.

Lynicia Cooper, a junior at West, gives her take on this topic. “I think it’s more an act of rebellion, just inside. I think it’s the older you get and the more you feel the need to express yourself, that’s when you start to experiment with drugs and alcohol and stuff like that just to prove that you can be you,” she says.

Cooper added that she doesn’t think it’s okay at such a young age and that teens should at least wait until they are 18 and out of the house.

“They should probably just remember that there will be a day when they can legally drink and doing it now doesn’t really make you cool,” Cooper adds, explaining how people can avoid drinking at this young age.

Rebecca Mason, a Physical Education teacher of 18 years, knows a lot about the health risks of underage drinking. “Socially, I don’t think people are ready, kids are not ready for the way alcohol changes your thinking and how you’re socially interacting with other kids.” She adds that kids are not ready to make these bad choices if they’re making bad choices when they’re sober. “Things are said, things are done that are not normal. You’re definitely not your normal self [when drinking],” Mason explains.

Scott Kniefel, a Language Arts teacher at West, explains some of his views on teen drinking. “There are people who are trying to escape the reality of their world and that’s a way of doing it. But I think most people start getting involved with peer pressure and they may continue on for other reasons.”

Kniefel tries reminds teens of the consequences as well. At school, you could get expelled. Out in the world, there may be more severe punishments. “If you get caught driving while drinking, which a lot of kids do unfortunately, you lose your license for up to three years. There’s even more of the danger of, you know, you could seriously hurt someone while intoxicated and or being intoxicated again, people making not the best decisions,” he says.