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Teenage Tippling

   By WCG Ministry Page 1 Good News April, 1976

Many parents are giving a sigh of relief. After a decade of turning on with all kinds of illegal, strange drugs, teenagers are turning back to the familiar, tried-and-true alcohol.

They need to consider the words of Dr. Morris Chafetz, Director of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the United States: "Parents who learn their children are not using the so-called 'other' drugs, but the drug alcohol, are relieved. And while we are not getting into a competitive battle with other drugs, but a comparative one, parents are being relieved into a serious situation. Since no drug comes close in any measurement to the human and social destruction of alcohol problems, these parents are being relaxed into a situation that is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire."

Teenage tippling is nothing new. What is new is that they seem to be starting at an earlier age and seem to be hitting the bottle harder than previous generations.

Drinking and driving is one of the major hazards of teenage drinking. The car has become a favorite "watering hole" for youth. But drinking and driving don't mix — about 60% of traffic deaths among youth involve alcohol.

Drinking and other drugs don't mix either. Taking alcohol and uppers, downers, or opiates can result in a synergistic syndrome. That is, the combining of two drugs may result in an effect far greater than the sum of effects of the drugs taken on separate occasions. For example, one small dose of antihistamine chased down by one small dose of alcohol will have not two — but perhaps 20 times the effect of a single drink. And alcohol mixed with barbiturates or other "downers" can be fatal.

Experimentation and excess seem to be hallmarks of adolescence. In the case of drunkenness, it might seem like fun at the time, but it can be fatal when mixed with driving or other drugs. And then there is always the hangover the next day as well as long-term hazards to the health and pocketbook if one drunken binge leads to another, and then another, and then another. That is why God counsels: "Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your mind in the way. Be not among winebibbers, or among gluttonous eaters of meat; for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags" (Prov. 23:19-21).

And Solomon, who had tried it all, wrote: "Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. Remove vexation from your mind, and put away pain from your body. . . Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth . . ." (Eccl. 11:9-12:1).