The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Sarah Gould
GHS student 

Statistically the best way to die young is by drinking


One of the uncomfortable truths a lot of people overlook are the dangers that come with the use of alcohol. While pretty much anyone who has been exposed to even a quarter-hour’s worth of media in our country knows that alcohol should be consumed responsibly, many people still don’t. I guess ignoring the statistics is easier than ignoring your urges. The main preventable dangers that involve alcohol are underage drinking, driving while impaired, and binge drinking.

The first of the worst ways to use alcohol is to use it while under the age of 21. More than half of our American youth has experimented with alcohol, and neither gender is exempt from the likelihood. Also, neither gender is exempt from the chances of getting behind the wheel. Many times, drinking alcohol is the real perpetrator when it comes to death by car accident. Car crashes are the main cause of teenage deaths, and 25 percent of those have an underage drinker in the equation. Also, drinking can increase one’s chances of either being a victim or offender of sexual assault. Approximately 97,000 of students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault, or “date rape.” The final danger I will mention about underage drinking is the fact that underage brains are still in development. Should someone consume alcohol heavily while their brain is still “growing,” their chance of having permanent brain impairments is pretty much guaranteed. Think those who have are okay? Well, we’ll never know what their undamaged self is like, so we’ll never know how unlimited they could have been.

Impaired driving, or driving while one’s blood alcohol level is above a safe driving level, is the next stupidly preventable danger that young readers need to be informed of. With that danger comes its own little danger offspring. For instance, it’s been estimated that crashes involving an intoxicated person makes up 32 percent of all fatal car crashes. Alcohol is a depressant and takes away the attentiveness and complete control of one’s body that one usually needs when driving. But how does the beer rob you of the basic skills you developed as a baby? Being a depressant, alcohol slows down the functions of the central nervous system, delaying all brain function. Therefore, a person’s hand-eye coordination, ability to process information, judgement, accurate sight, attention span, and reaction time are all hampered. Given such information, the outcomes of drunk driving aren’t a shock.

The final way alcohol is used dangerously is to binge. Binge drinking is consecutively drinking five or more alcoholic beverages in one sitting. The dangers of impaired drinking include dizziness, loss of coordination, diarrhea, vomiting, lack of judgement, and passing out. The aforementioned symptoms of drunkenness don’t sound that bad because all they show is that a person is drunk to most. However, many of these “symptoms” could precede death by causing catastrophes, like car crashes and fires. Binge drinking isn’t good for the body either. In fact, a binge-drinker’s body temperature has the chance to fall to an unsafe low and result in death. Too much alcohol can make the brain slow one’s heart rate and breathing. Blood alcohol levels can continue to rise while a drinker is passed out, resulting in alcohol poisoning. A drinker who has passed out from alcohol poisoning may vomit while unconscious and choke on their own vomit.

Binge drinkers’ chances of being the victim of or person committing horrible things increases considerably, too. Their risk of killing someone or their self, domestic violence, and violent crimes all go up. Let’s not forget all the health risks that come with drinking heavily like inflammation of pancreas, spinal cord, and brain, obtaining STDs, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. Yeah, binge drinking sounds like loads of fun.

In order to prevent the ugly things that come with teen drinking, drunk driving, and drinking heavily, we must be informed. Remember always to obey your drinking laws and choose responsibility. Don’t drink, kids. Please try to stay safe during graduation.


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