Consumption of Alcohol Among Young People in Britain

Subject: Health Care
Type: Problem Solution Essay
Pages: 6
Word count: 1564
Topics: Alcoholism, Addiction, Social Issues
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Introduction

Consumption of alcohol can at times be a product of deviance, transgression and limit-testing as well as being a rite of passage. Binge drinking has now become the norm among young men and women in lower and higher income groups with being drunk in some adolescents viewed as a desirable and intended consequence rather than a result of heavy drinking. To a great extent, alcohol consumption among young people can be affiliated to globalization of high-strength and cheap alcoholic beverages that appeal to the young adults and the youth (“Teen Alcohol Abuse”, 2017). This convergence in drinking patterns between young men and young women has been attributed to the growing employment and educational opportunities for the young women. In fact, at the core of alcohol consumption is gender since it determines the attitudes and choice of beverage. For the adolescents, alcohol is crucial for rule breaking, transgression and socialization.  By and large, it precedes consolidation of individual social and cultural norms for the society. Sometimes, drinking is part of deviant activities carried out by the teen or a form of risk taking coupled with experimentation with illicit drugs, risky sexual activities and smoking (“Your Child or Teenagers Health”, 2018)   This essay delves into transgression and socialization themes, interrogating both change in patterns and continuity of consumption among young people in Britain. 

Peer influence

Substance use by adolescents is predicated on peer influence as it has been cited by most peer reviews as the strongest and most consistent factor in the maintenance and initiation of substance use. Adolescent period is characterized by long periods of socialization among peers; young people have a strong urge to be close to friends, group membership and social approval (“A Guide for Teens and Alcohol”, 2015). During these teenage years, adolescents have a strong urge to conform to norms that expose them to risky behaviour when they are in contact with peers that abuse substances. Over time, studies have indicated that consumption of alcohol among peers and best friends does so little to explain the differences in drinking among juveniles. For instance, the study showed that alcohol use by best friends is irrelevant in explaining risky behaviour by adolescents. On alcohol use and imitation, research showed that whenever persons are in the company of drinker, the pace of the drinker affects the individual consumption and drinking rates. By and large, any gathering of people in a drinking context increases the role played by imitation; these processes are to a great extent independent of the social status and the inter-relationships between the peer groups. 

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Parents and friends

In the past, studies have explored dimensions of parenting like support, manipulative and psychological control, supervision and monitoring as well as emotional availability as some of the factors that influence alcohol use among the youth in the UK. Further, adolescent drinking has been associated with availability of alcohol in the houses, frequent discussion of issues that deal with drinking and setting of alcohol-specific rules and norms. In fact, there is evidence to a substantial level on the effects of use of substance by parents on the adolescent (“Teen Drinking Linked to Parents’ Habits”, 2011).  The environment inhabited by adolescents is affected a great deal by the parents since they influence the selection of potential peers by implicit or explicit choices concerning school and neighborhood. Parents may attempt to obstruct affiliation between youths and certain peers or direct their affiliation to specific peers that they consider suitable. Where parental supervision is high, this prevents interaction with deviant youths. Negative reactions from parents concerning friendships may affect existence of the friendships as they interfere with the self-efficacy of the adolescent.  For instance, where parents provide adolescents with knowledge and confidence on how to counter peer influence, this in effect strengthens the self-efficacy of the offspring.  Where parents drink, adolescents in the family are more likely o associate with a drinker when making new friends. The discussion between parents and their children ought to be satisfactory and not excessive; where parents hold the discussion more frequently than normal; the adolescents react in a deviant manner since the talk becomes less positive and/or constructive. However, what happens normally is that whenever parents find out that their children are drinking, they make the talks more frequent explaining the problem that results.

The differences in culture

Health and safety campaigns, alcohol policies and popular media presentations have in the past been viewed as problematic among consumers. Around the globe, the attitudes to alcohol and drinking among young people has been a consequence of influence from cultural contexts, advertising, media, religious and ethnic upbringing, schools, peers and culture. Binge drinking was coined to refer to a drinking pattern where excessive consumption was the key feature since the drinker could drink until it becomes to carry out his/her daily obligations and activities due to loss of consciousness (“IAS”, 2018)

Popular media culture often vilifies young people nd portrays them as a grotesque spectacle resulting into panic, at least morally on the issue of binge drinking. To accommodate this phenomenon, it is crucial for one to differentiate between specific risky drinking patterns and overall consumption levels. In countries around the Mediterranean, drinking often takes place on occasions, and as a consequence, persons are intoxicated to a lower extent. Individuals drink weekly or over s particular moment such as on a Friday night (binge drinking) (“Alcohol and Young People”, 2018). 

Portrayal of the young people by the media is characterized by intense concern, outrage and shock since they are represented as irresponsible and excessive binge drinkers.  Adolescent binge drinkers have in the past reported disorder and mishap attached to public drinking. In England, here has been evidence of routine gatherings of adolescents that engage in low level public nuisance, animated behaviour and public drinking. The outcomes have to a great extent been negative since they involve peer exploitation, accidents, unconsciousness and illness (Jayne et al, 2016). By and large, these experiences become even negative when young people visit parties, clubs and bars.  

“Work hard” “play hard” mentality

In England, just like in many other European countries, youths are drinking for drunkenness or intoxication.  Social drinking has been blamed for increase in drinking among young people; studies have shown that these adolescents believe that drinking helps them forget worries, relax and wind down. On the other hand, female attribute alcohol to relief of stress associating temporary intoxication and drinking to the lifestyles of “work hard- play hard” conundrum (“Alcohol and Young People”, 2018). Youths in Britain attribute certain drugs to a specific function; for instance, cocaine and ecstasy are linked to self-confidence, dancing and energy whereas cannabis is affiliated to feeling mellow, winding down and relaxing. to them, the psycho-active basket is full of illicit drugs and alcohol explaining why a huge number of youths that drink heavily re more likely to be illicit drug users and smokers. 

At least half of British youths frequent towns during weekends_ clubs, bars and pubs in city centres and towns as they provide ample setting for alcohol consumption.  Studies have proven that even the recreational drug users and biggest drinkers successfully transitioning to full citizenship and adulthood.  In addition, they attribute their high income to drinking thus explaining their sustained increase in alcohol consumption. These youths are rarely at home as they prioritize visiting bars and pubs, retail therapy and socializing. They spend their weekends out intoxicated deeming this vital to the good fit and desired harmony between problem and worries, concentration and relaxation as well as work and play (“IAS”, 2018). Whenever these young adolescents go for holiday abroad, they view this as an opportunity to resort to sexual adventures, drug use and heavy drinking. 

In the United Kingdom, it is illegal to sell alcohol to persons below 18 years of age; however, under supervision of the parent, persons within the age of 5-16 can consume alcohol in their premises (“The Law on Alcohol and Under 18s”, 2018). In spite of this, the government in Britain has recently advised parents to avoid introducing their children to alcohol for health purposes especially those that are below 15 years. 

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Young people’s drunkenness and drinking can be characterized as chronic or longer term, as well as social or health-related (“Liver Disease: a Preventable Killer of Young Adults”, 2014). Health-wise, they risk problems such as cancers, liver damage and alcohol poisoning. For example, in the United Kingdom, the number of people hospitalized for alcohol poisoning increased by 70% in the past five years. Consequently, these incidents place a heavy burden on the nation through affiliations between alcohol consumption and violent crime, antisocial behaviour, public disorder and road traffic accidents. Further, this has been evident in the relation between consumption of alcohol, labour market and educational outcomes. 

Conclusion

There is a wide variation around the globe regarding the attitudes to alcohol and drinking among young people hat has been a consequence of influence from cultural contexts, advertising, media, religious and ethnic upbringing, schools, peers and culture. The essay has shown understanding of binge drinking and the relationship between culture and consumption of alcohol in the United Kingdom. Cultures of heavy drinking in Britain ought to be seen as marginal and mainly a youth phenomenon as many deem it a transition phase from childhood into adulthood; however, variation between purpose, intensity and timing has been manifest on socio-economic, societal context and gender backgrounds. 

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  2. “BBC NEWS | UK | Children and Drink: What’s Legal?” Home – BBC News. Last modified 
  3. “IAS.” IAS. Accessed May 11, 2018.
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  6. “Teen Drinking Linked to Parents’ Habits.” Nhs.uk. Last modified 17, 2011. 
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  10. Jayne, M. and Valentine, G., 2016. Alcohol, drinking, drunkenness:(Dis) orderly spaces. Routledge.
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