The Negative Effects Of Drugs And Alcohol

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The Negative Effects of Drugs and Alcohol

The Negative Effects of Drugs and Alcohol


Alcohol use and attitudes toward drinking and drunkenness have varied greatly across time, with the periodic rise and fall of alcohol prohibition movements (Collins and Messerschmidt, 1993). After the last prohibition, which ended in 1933, there was a steady and increasing trend of alcohol use among adults through the mid 1980s. Since the late 1980s, however, alcohol use has been declining. Even so, alcohol remains by far the most commonly used drug among both youths and adults in the United States. Research shows that the mean age for first drinking alcohol is sixteen years (Musto, 1996). Research also shows that about half (47.3 percent) of Americans twelve years and older had at least one drink of alcohol in the past month, and onefifth (20.2 percent) had five or more drinks on at least one day in the past month (Goode, 1998). A drink of alcohol is a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a mixed drink with 1.5 ounces of spirits, which contain about equal amounts of pure alcohol. According to the new dietary guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one drink per day for females, and two drinks per day for males, is considered moderate drinking.

Youth, especially recreational users, tend to prefer substances that are inexpensive, potent, and easily attainable. Beer and marijuana meet these requirements. These substances are used to achieve excitement, to enable exploration, and to escape the external world. However, drug use by addicts, rather than by recreational users, is more a way of life because users need drugs to make it through the day. Most addicts are multiple drug users.

Negative Effects

There are so many negative effects of alcohol and drugs. Alcohol and other drugs consumption varies by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and level of education. In terms of underage drinking, 29.4 percent of persons ages twelve to twenty reported drinking in the past month (Musto, 1996). Between eighth and tenth grade, many adolescent drinkers increase their alcohol use, drinking increasingly larger quantities and increasing the frequency of drinking. Studies suggest that there are few differences between males and females in terms of their alcohol use in early adolescence (Collins and Messerschmidt, 1993). However, males in later adolescence are more likely than females to drink large quantities and to engage in more ...
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