The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

Under age drinking common across nation

By Lindsay Devereux & Audrey Webster | Collaborative Reporters


Some think it relieves stress. Others do it to try to get away from everyday life. Still others are just trying to fit in. Whatever the reasons, underage drinking exists at Marshfield High School.


Taylor, Brittany and Casey [The Marshfield Times has changed names to preserve anonymity] are MHS students who drank illegally. Taylor and Casey recognize the consequences but still drink occasionally. Brittany has chosen to completely remove alcohol from her life.


Casey used to drink regularly. When she first started, she drank every weekend and said she did it just for fun, often getting together with friends and playing beer pong. Later, she began drinking when stressed or overwhelmed.


“Sometimes when I’m stressed, drinking helps me relax,” Casey said. “I can just forget about my problems for a while.”


Casey said started making bad decisions and the effects of the alcohol started to impact her daily life. She found her grades dropping and felt sick most of the time. Eventually Casey realized she needed to cut down on her alcohol intake. She now only drinks occasionally and never during the school week.


Taylor started drinking for similar reasons. His friends introduced him to alcohol his eighth grade year and still drinks occasionally.


“Everyone drinks so why shouldn’t I?” Taylor said. “I drink with my friends and it’s fun.”


Taylor admits the side effects of alcohol use are not ideal, but still enjoys the social aspect of drinking.


“I sometimes feel like crap the next day,” Taylor said. “But I only drink like once a month, so it’s not too bad.”


The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDH) discovered over 70 percent of underage drinking is attributed to peer pressure. The study also showed underage drinking can lead to emotional problems in the future, which can result in stress related drinking.


Brittany originally began drinking when she was in eighth grade. She had tried alcohol before, but never drank very much. She was at her friend’s house the first time she actually got drunk.


“At first, when we would drink, it was awful and I always ended up getting really sick,” Brittany said. “But then after about three or four times I became used to it.”


Brittany said she now looks back and does not understand why she drank, but thinks she was trying to fit in with her friends and did not consider the consequences of drinking. By drinking carelessly, Brittany got into several situations she did not want to be in and ended up losing her virginity while under the influence.


“Alcohol is the first step in the wrong direction,” Brittany said. “It leads to other problems and pretty soon you start making bad decisions.”


According to statistics from Monitoring the Future Corporation (MTFC), underage drinking has been a problem for years. Since 1980, the amount of underage students who drink alcohol at least three times a year has been over 70 percent. A survey done in 2011 by MTFC showed 90 percent of high school students had tried alcohol and 40 percent of them drank during the past month.


MHS security officer Todd Tardie has dealt with problems regarding alcohol before. Although he said drinking is not common at school, he understands how alcohol affects student life.


“Alcohol is very addictive in itself,” Tardie said. “It’s hard for students who drink frequently to focus at school.”


Alcohol affects many parts of the brain, but the most vulnerable cells are those associated with memory, coordination and judgment. Because they do not have complete control of their actions, people with alcohol in their system often make decisions without considering the consequences.


Though most underage drinking is connected to peer pressure, Brittany said the friendships students are trying to protect by drinking are often destroyed by alcohol.


“Me and my friends are trying to repair our broken relationships, but nothing will ever be the same between us,” Brittany said.


Casey had the same results when it came to friendships and alcohol. Part of the reason she cut back on alcohol was to save what friendships she had left.


“Alcohol can take over who you want to be and who your friends are,” Casey said. Brittany agrees.


“It’s a risky path to take,” Brittany said. “It [alcohol] can change you.”


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Under age drinking common across nation