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OC HIGH / STUDENT NEWS AND VIEWS : Brushes With the Bottle : Teen Drinking Is a Form of Rebellion or a Nod to Peer, Cultural Pressures

July 15, 1994|NANCY HAN | Nancy Han will be a junior this fall at Troy High School in Fullerton, where this article first appeared in the student newspaper, the Oracle.

Trends have a tendency to sear through our culture, then fade away as quickly as they came about. But one trend seems to be entrenched: teen-age drinking.

Why the attraction?

"When you're young, you're rebellious and want to try new things," said Troy senior Bob, who said he drinks casually every weekend. "I was just a punk eighth-grader who wanted to try everything and be different. My friends did it, but they didn't (say) 'Hey, do it.' They were just like, 'Do you want some?' I wanted to step out of the mold. And in retrospect, it was a good enough reason to start."

Bob (not his real name) said he doesn't drink alcohol to fit into a peer group. Instead, he sees it as a way to rebel against parents.

"Over Christmas vacation my relatives were visiting, and I came home around 2 in the morning," he said. "My mom got really mad at me for coming home late, even though I usually got home at that time.

"I thought it was stupid to change my habits just because my mom wanted to make it seem like I was a good little boy for my relatives, (but she changed) my curfew to 11 p.m. So the next night I got home on time, but this time I came home drunk."

Masa Fukuzawa, a nurse for the chemical dependency program at Kaiser Permanente of Orange, said teen-agers often drink to defy rules and regulations enforced upon them.

Besides rebelling against parents, many adolescents are motivated to drink because of alcohol advertisements portraying alcohol as a source of fun and excitement, according to a representative for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Bob earlier said that every time he turns on the television, a provocative commercial--such as one with a woman wearing a leopard print bikini offering a beer to a dark, muscular man--tells him that drinking is nothing but pleasurable and fun.

"A lot of youths are definitely inclined to follow examples because they haven't had a lot of experience to make their own decisions and decide between right and wrong. (Advertisements) are not showing the depressed people with beers, and they don't show the consequences for drinking," the MADD representative said.

Another Troy student said he learned the consequences of alcohol consumption the hard way after going to a party where he became "pretty wasted." He said that alcohol dulled his reasoning and led him to participate in juvenile pranks.

"We hit a police car (with a water ballon), and a cop (stopped) and got out. We picked up another ballon and hit the cop. We wouldn't have done that if we had been sober; I mean when you're drunk, all your rational sense goes away and you start to act more and more on impulsive urges," he said.

The student said he learned from the experience, though.

"Now that I'm sober, I've realized that it was more important for me to have followed my own ideas rather than listening to other people's ideas. I shouldn't have drunk (alcohol) because of others."

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