Go Home, You’re Drunk

The biggest problem with underage drinking is the desensitization to binge drinking.


Artwork by Zoe Prekop

You are going to a casual party with your friends and everything is as expected. The community iPhone will be hooked up to some speakers, blasting a mediocre blend of pop and rap remixes. There will be plenty of bad outfits worn by faces that are familiar only in the school hallways. You will encounter many inebriated teenagers. You grab a red solo cup filled with the cheapest beer money can buy and you down it, ready for the next round. Before you know it, you are drunk and it is embarrassing.

In 2011, the United States National Survey on Drug and Health reported that 25% of youth ages 12 to 20 drink alcohol. Underage drinking is common knowledge. It is a known fact that teenagers like to break rules and will continue to do so regardless of what their parents, teachers, counselors, friends, or guardian angels say. Underage drinking is illegal and definitely not encouraged, but the bigger issue lies in teenagers constantly being drunk and thinking that it is a normal activity.

There is no setting where being drunk is appropriate. Every workplace has a “Drug and Alcohol Policy” that is strictly enforced. If you arrive at your job drunk, they will enforce their zero-tolerance policy and kick you out. Anything associated with drinking or possessing alcohol is considered a “Very Seriously Disruptive Behavior” in the CPS Student Code of Conduct. It also advises schools to contact the Chicago Police Department for criminal offenses, with possession of alcohol or drinking before or during a school function at the top of the list.

School and the workplace are obvious settings where it is highly inappropriate to be drunk, but what about a Cubs game? People who are over 21 engage in binge drinking at clubs, parties, sporting events – the list could go on. Some might think it is perfectly fine to drink to the point of vomiting on the empty seat next to them at Wrigley Field. While it is perfectly “legal”, it is not appropriate. Being rowdy and disorderly in public and displaying that you have lost control of yourself breaks many rules of the unspoken social contract.

This is the true danger of underage drinking. People are becoming desensitized to consuming large, unhealthy amounts of alcohol at a young age and will continue some of those habits for the rest of their life. This can lead to liver damage and a dependence on alcohol. Do not doom yourself to weekly irrational behavior and the never-ending cycle of embarrassment. Be smart, stay safe, and do not believe that being drunk is a normal Tuesday night activity.