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Adolescent Alcohol Abuse – Prom Night

by James Heller 12. May 2010 14:11
The senior prom at high schools across the country is a special evening of celebration for most teens.  To most of them, there is a sense of freedom involved that is typically supported by parents.  The problem with this is that too many youths see this freedom as an open door to teen alcohol abuse.  And even if they don’t drink, it is likely that they will condone it for others and may suffer injury because of it.

It is a “party night” for almost every senior in high school across the country whether they attend the Prom or not.  For most of them, this is the night where they feel free to act like adults.  One aspect of adulthood in the United States is the “right” to drink alcohol.  So it is common for adolescents to believe they have this same privilege, even though they are not of legal age.

Planning for this big drinking night can begin weeks before.  Groups of friends will pool money and figure out how they will purchase liquor.  Some parents will actually chip in and get alcohol for them, with the hope that the youths will follow orders to be safe.  They may even rent a limousine and get a hotel room, thinking this is a responsible move.  

As talk among peers spreads, so does the pressure for others to engage in youth alcohol abuse.  Adolescents feel a need to be a part of the crowd, so they will either join the party or be silent about others drinking in their group.  The danger is in the perception of risk.  A recent survey showed that while about 9 out of 10 teens believe that either they or their friends will drink on prom night, only about one-quarter see any danger in it.

Other than the obvious dangers that come from driving under the influence of alcohol, there are risks from uninhibited behavior of violence, thrill seeking, and sexual assault.  Adolescent alcohol abuse also brings a higher likelihood of future problems with alcohol dependence.  One does not need to get drunk to be a victim of these activities; they only need to be close by.  Parents and educators should strongly caution teens about these consequences regardless of how responsible they have proven to be in the past.

The main tool in the prevention of adolescent alcohol abuse is education.  Adolescent alcohol treatment is only necessary when education does not deter teen alcohol abuse.  When teens are provided with negative consequences, they may think twice before abusing alcohol or condoning it among their friends.  Alcohol abuse might seem like fun to many teens, but they need to hear about the negatives.

Promoting a safe prom means more joy among the attendees, and less risk of a tragedy occurring on prom night.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment, as well as prevention education.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.