Not all teenagers get drunk
At the age of 15, a minority of teenagers regularly abuse alcohol. And the media talk a lot about those rare cases. One can choose friends that know how to have fun without drinking alcohol. One can also drink only a little.
With alcohol, one becomes a different person
Alcohol is a psychotropic substance, just like other drugs. It alters people’s perceptions, emotions and behaviours. Alcohol can make us take risks and put us in danger. Under the effect of alcohol, one does things one wouldn’t do normally. Danger can come from oneself, but also from others!
Alcohol spreads into the blood stream
The blood alcohol is the amount of alcohol that circulates in the blood stream. The blood alcohol depends:
- on the amount of alcohol that was absorbed;
- on the age: alcohol has quicker effects on young and elderly people;
- on gender: alcohol has quicker effects on women;
- on whether one has eaten something: alcohol tends to have slower effects on full stomachs.
Effects can be more dangerous if one also takes narcotic or medicinal drugs in addition to alcohol…
Teenagers are more vulnerable to alcohol
Teenagers don’t react like adults to the effects of alcohol. Their blood alcohol rises quicker and they can get intoxicated rapidly (for further details, see teenagers and alcohol). This is why the law forbids alcohol consumption to people under the age of 16. People over the age of 16 should only drink alcohol occasionally and especially without getting inebriated.
Mixing alcohol with other substances (drugs, cannabis, etc.) can be dangerous.
Knowing one’s limits
During their first experiences with alcohol, teenagers don’t know their limits. Sometimes, they can drink too much, too fast and rapidly get intoxicated.
Alcohol can be dangerous for teenagers and adults
- Drinking too much and too often is dangerous for the health.
- Alcohol can create great dependency.
- Drunkenness alters the state of consciousness, feelings and behaviour. One can lose control and do things one might regret later. When young people start drinking alcohol, both boys and girls don’t know their limits yet. They may drink too much, or too fast. Sometimes, young people get drunk very fast, and become unable to stop.
- Alcohol disinhibits. One is no longer able to control one’s own behaviour. One continues to drink, that’s all. Encourage your teenager to be careful. Being careful means stopping or taking a break after a glass of alcohol.
- Too much alcohol or getting drunk too fast can kill. Upon reaching adolescence, one should know how to react if someone is the victim of alcohol intoxication. If someone loses consciousness and can’t be awoken, or doesn’t react when being pinched, or vomits, has trouble breathing, etc., said person should be laid on the side, kept warm, prevented from vomiting and never be left alone – and one should immediately ask for help from an adult, or call an ambulance (Phone 144).
- Alcohol increases the risk of accidents.
- Any mixing (with cannabis, drugs or other substances) brings unpredictable risks.