Underage drinking is a problem in the UK that seems to be getting worse. There are concerns for the wellbeing of young adults that drink alcohol because they are particularly at risk of serious side effects. Many teenagers die each year because of complications from alcohol abuse, and a large number of them that begin drinking alcohol at an early age will find themselves in rehab during early adulthood. Parents and officials are working hard to prevent underage drinking by educating youngsters on the dangers of this activity.

Undercover Operation

One of the biggest challenges for teenagers who wish to consume alcohol is getting their hands on it, as alcohol cannot be legally sold to people under the age of eighteen. However, that does not mean it is impossible; many teenagers look older than their years, and they are not asked for identification in some stores. There is also the problem of some store owners neglecting their responsibility and intentionally selling alcohol to youngsters.

An undercover police operation in Sussex has found one particular store selling cider and beer to fifteen and sixteen-year-olds; it has now lost its alcohol licence. Police sent two underage teenagers to the shop to make a test purchase and see if they were asked for identification. On both occasions, staff did not ask for identification. The staff members in question were fined for their misdemeanour.

Police targeted the store after a tip-off that children were being sold alcohol. The first visit was in November 2014, and the store owner promised to improve staff training to ensure this did not happen again. Nevertheless, police made a second visit to the premises during February 2015, at which time alcohol was again sold to underage teenagers without any checks. This led to police asking for a review of the store’s alcohol licence, which has now been revoked.

The Causes of Underage Drinking

There are many reasons why teenagers choose to drink alcohol. Some of these include peer pressure, boredom, curiosity, or as a coping mechanism. Some children will have been brought up in homes where alcohol consumption was regular, so they may see it as normal and acceptable.

Peer pressure is probably the most common reason teenagers begin drinking in the first place. A willingness to be accepted can cause teenagers to do things they may not particularly want to. It can be difficult to say no to friends; some teens are afraid they will be laughed at or left out if they do not join in.

Some youngsters just want to try alcohol out of curiosity. However, others may be suffering low self-esteem, insecurity, or depression and find that alcohol makes them feel more confident.

Why Underage Drinking is Dangerous

Underage drinkers face many dangers and side effects, including liver damage and mental problems such as depression and anxiety. Research has shown that those who begin drinking early are more likely to develop an addiction in later life.

Many people believe that liver damage only affects those who have been drinking heavily for many years. Nonetheless, it is possible for liver damage to occur even in those who begin drinking at an early age.

Alcohol affects the brain, especially memory function. Those who are under the influence of alcohol might also find that their decision-making is affected and so may do things that could put them in danger.

Help for Addiction

Addiction Helper is a free service working with people all over the UK who are suffering from addiction issues. If you or a loved one needs help for an addiction, call our advisors today.  Inform yourself about children and students with addictions in our student addiction guide.

Source: Crawley News 

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