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The American Society is among the open-minded societies in the world. The general character is often associated with frankness and directness. The United States is know for freedom. Among others, the freedom to choose. At a glance, this seemed to be the case. Opportunities are open to those who worked for it. It is often seen on television for young American to be on their at the early age of eighteen. Making choices for himself, earning a living and enjoying the amenities of freedom. Now what happen to general attitude of the American people with regards to teenage alcohol use or abuse. All of a sudden, there is a degree of secrecy to this issue among families whose member or members are into this substance abuse.
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The regulatory age limit in the use of alcohol in the United States is 21 years old. Yet, this proves contrary to records of drank driving related accidents, alcohol intoxication related crimes and other police matters encountered by the American law enforcers, especially, in the younger generation. I am not out to prove that the regulatory law for the use of alcohol is wrong. This papers would only want to bring out issues especially on the cultural side that might be able to shed light on the question of why this problem is present among the teenage and college societies of the country. In the United States, as media media depicted it, drinking is pictured as a symbol of control, of success. In television advertisements and in the printed media, we can see pictures of good looking men and women, celebrates to success with drinking. It is also a symbol of sexuality. Sexy men and women are used to represent an alcoholic drinks, inculcating into the minds of the public especially the younger generations that the alcoholic beverages they are advertising makes them exude the kind of attraction from others. In American social gathering too, drinking has become a integral part of the event. to be able to socialize, is to be able to share the drinks offered in the celebration. It is the successful people that gathered in parties, and one has to be in that social event in order to be accepted and one toast the wine among the successful people gathered. This picture inspire anyone who wanted to live the good life. Yet, as regulated in the United States laws, it was made unavailable to people below 21 years old.
Now anyone would Ask, if a person is responsible enough to earn a living at 18, why can’t he be responsible enough to managed his drink. The moral and cultural issue on this matter is likened to biblical fruit of knowledge of good and evil, in the garden of paradise of Adam and Eve. It is there, but it is not to be eaten, which makes Eve crave it the more. It is generally true that once a thing is forbidden, it develops a character of mystery and therefore worthy of discovery. To the young minds, this regulation law made the product unavailable to them, yet, pictured as a symbol of successful life. Why then, if it symbolizes success, it cannot be available for them. This social and cultural issue is not isolated to the United States Culture. In the Third World Countries, especially among the poorest communities, the budget for alcoholic drink may equal if not exceed to that budgeted for food. What makes people in this social group resort to alcoholism. What effects does this drinking adult give to children? It cannot be denied that children of poor families, starts to work at an early age. They become responsible to bring in cash for the family.
To this, the children are exposed to different adult world instead of being able to enjoy the freedom of his childhood. This exposure made the children feel adult and behave like one too. At an early age he set make choices of his own to survive in the world of outsmarting. This make him street smart. With this notion set in mind, he completely feels like one of the adults, and even the adult members of his immediate society would treat him like one. So if the adults could take their drink why can’t he? Afterall, he is capable of giving his share of the drink they will buy. In this kind of culture too. drinking is considered as a form of baptism of fire. The youth has to be man enough to take his drink and become acceptable to the world of adults. He has become a willing trainee of adults who obviously were low in self esteem, demoralized by issues of extreme poverty. Is there a cultural matter to this community behavior? There is, I would say, this is the culture of a demoralized society who wanted to live in a life of make believe and recklessness, even for the short period of drunkenness. It is a relief for anyone to feel irresponsible for anyone or anything even for a short period of time. If being responsible does not bring in any kind of relief, why can’t anyone try irresponsibility and throw all forms of care.
This picture vividly painted in the adult world of the poor, becomes a become for the Who at an early age, forced to behave and act like one adult and made to become responsible as one as in bringing in income for the family.. If the demoralizing effect of poverty triggers the early use of alcohol among poor families, does this mean that this kind of problem is not encountered among children of higher incomer families? These children exposed to a different of cultural norms and social experience, are they in anyway free from the problems of alcoholism? Definitely not, in all levels of society, in all kinds of social, cultural, spiritual, moral standing, this issues of teenage alcoholism is present. No amount of regulatory laws are effective enough to erase this problem. When does alcoholism become a problem? In the book, Alcoholism, a handbook, addictive drinking (alcoholism) is defined as the use of alcohol because of unconscious need (Drew, Moon and Buchanan 4). In this essay we dealt with the teenage use of alcohol. It may be related with use of drugs, as alcohol in one form or another is considered as addictive. How does society dealt with this issue. Many believed that regulating the age for the legal purchase of this substance would solve the problem. But records of teenage alcohol related criminality and accidents shows that it isn’t so.
This age group has a way of acquiring this regulated commodity, thereby it does not only made the teenager a substance abuser but also a criminal since he had broken the law. If the regulating law has become ineffective, why put it there? In this double standard society we have inherited since time immemorial, our definition for use and abuse, acceptable and unacceptable, good and bad has become confusing. A celebrity being committed to a drug rehabilitation center develops a certain aura of heroism. Thereby he exudes an attraction especially to his admirers.
He is a bad person turn good therefore a good example to follow. Still, this celebrity may exude a sense of recklessness that is attractive to the younger set of generation. In some religious cultures, alcohol is depicted as evil, and a s evil it has to be subdued. The controlled use of this evil act is one way defeating it. In the world of finance, all important deals culminates with toasting wine for success, and everyone lauded this act as a symbol of success and power. A man drinking to forget his ills with the world is regarded as pathetic. Are we in a culture that is self defeating?
Is this issue of social problem especially with the younger generation as hopeless as it seemed. There is no clear cut and defined solution to this issue. One has to regard this as present and true to every aspect of our community and it does not choose a certain aspect of society a susceptible. What we need is education. A frank and honest education that we can use to address this issue. First, we need to destroy every false notion that makes alcohol attractive especially to our younger generation. We need to develop a sense of careless disregard to this substance to be able lose interest. The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Adam and Eve serves its purpose to test if the two would obey. The beacon of temptation won over obedience. This is true with alcohol. As it is depicted as a symbol of power, responsibility, maturity in most culture and societies, it is not made available for the eager younger generation out to discover and this gives alcohol its attraction. Education, well defined boundaries as to what is good and bad, and a healthy attitude of acceptance to what is true and existing in this community. Gives the younger generation a chance to make a good and healthy choice and that includes using and drinking at an early age.
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