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Problems Faced by Adolescence Due to Risky Alcohol Use and Ways to Solve Them

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In Australia, there has been a growing concern about adolescent alcohol consumption. According to Jones and Magee (2014), approximately 54.1% of youth have tried alcohol before 12 years of age and this figure increased to 80.9% by age 15 and 90.9% by age 17 in Australia. There are several reasons why adolescents start drinking, such as poor family management and relationships and interaction with anti-social peers (Hemphill et al., 2014). Eventually, teenagers drink a risk amount of alcohol so they often face multifarious problems and challenges when coping with those factors. The main aim of this assignment is to analyze three issues that teenagers face due to risky drinking of alcohol, and to evaluate strategies that have been implemented to manage these issues. The three main problems that have been identified are alcohol dependence, poor academic achievement, and anti-social behavior. Three solutions, namely restricting trading hours, school-based programs and alcohol advertisements will be discussed. These solutions will also be evaluated.

The Main Issues

Alcohol Dependence

In Australia, alcohol dependence prevalence is the highest among young adults. Bonomo et al. (2004) found that alcohol dependence among teenagers in Australia has high rates of drinking, binge drinking, alcohol-related injuries, high tobacco use and anti-social behaviors. Alcohol dependence is characterized by the symptoms of withdrawal and tolerance (Connor, 2016). In ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed. (DSM-IV)’, typical withdrawal syndrome more than two following symptoms are listed: “autonomic hyperactivity; excessive handshaking; insomnia; nausea or vomiting; intermittent visual, tactile or auditory hallucinations or illusions; agitation of the psychomotor; anxiety; and seizures of considerable illness” (Caetano and Babbor, 2006). The severity of withdrawal is a physiological dependence symptom. Moreover, tolerance to alcohol influences drinking behavior and drinking consequences in several ways. In addition, the high prevalence of alcohol dependence’s tolerance in adolescence may indicate normal developmental phenomenon rather than pathophysiological process. It is also found that tolerance was the most frequent symptom of alcohol dependence in adolescence.

Academic Achievement

In addition, another problem related to alcohol consumption among adolescents in Australia is poor academic achievement. Binge drinking is associated with a great number of academically related detriments. For instance, Hemphill et al. (2014) found that students can have poor relationships with peers and teachers, decreasing school attendance and rejecting to do their homework. This brings concerns about young people who drink heavily as they may become harder to achieve better school outcomes. Early adolescent alcohol consumption can be caused by poor family management and relationships. In other words, a poor family connection in the early teenage years may lead to school behavior and academic performance poorly. Moreover, Kelly et al. (2015) insists that poorer academic performance can be also affected by peer alcohol use. The poor academic performance caused by alcohol consumption in the early teenage years can include truancy and suspension in the school. In Victoria (Australia), 8th-grade Victorian students had high percentages of truancy as well as poor academic achievement due to binge drinking (Hemphill et al., 2014). Furthermore, poor school performance and engagement caused by binge drinking alcohol can interfere with achieving a student’s future academic goals (Karen et al., 2017).

Anti-Social Behavior

Anti-social behaviors are also a serious problem with adolescents’ drinking, which include violence and stealing leading to police arrests. Teenagers tend to lose control more easily than adults if they drink alcohol without restriction or supervision. According to Scholes-Balog et al. (2013), anti-social behaviors begin in late childhood or very early adolescence as early alcohol use has shown a strong, direct effect on later aggressive behaviors. Most of the violence, particularly beating and attacking others with the intention, has occurred to people close to them (Scholes-Balog et al., 2013). Also, Toubourou et al. (2009) found that 54% of the adolescents arrested by police in a year were drunk. Police arrests include stealing other’s and carrying a weapon. In particular, it is reported that the level of threatening another person using a weapon in Australia is higher than that of the United States, which is gradually increasing every year (Hemphill et al., 2014). This phenomenon is problematic because not only those who are drunk are in danger, but also those who do not drink alcohol have a great possibility to be exposed to danger. In addition, these actions can cause alcohol-related injuries, even lead to hospital admissions, and the data on alcohol-related teenagers’ hospital admissions are increasing rapidly (Livingston, 2008).

The Solutions

Restricting Trading Hours

One of the ways to tackle adolescent’s drinking is the policy of restricting trading hours. It has been found that policies restricting trading hours and youth access to liquor have lowered the frequency of drinking alcohol in adolescents (White et al., 2018). Although it does not directly affect adolescent’s drinking because they do not buy it directly themselves, it affects youth drinking through awareness of the availability of alcohol and social acceptability when policies are tightened. In particular, many components of this policy area attempt to reduce secondary supplies of alcohol that can be purchased without the help of parents and purchasing and drinking in certain places such as hotels. Besides, according to Wilkinson et al. (2016), restriction of trading hours is an effective way to reduce alcohol-related harm, especially violence. For example, a similar series of interventions have been carried out in Sydney’s central business district and Kings Cross, Sydney’s main entertainment district, resulting in a 26-32% decrease in the number of assaults.

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The policy of restriction trading hours seems like an effective solution to tackle the problem of adolescent’s drinking. Even though the solution requires confirmation, the policy is likely to have a significant impact on the amount of alcohol consumed by teenagers than on disrupting access (White et al., 2018). Policies aimed at reducing trading hours and reducing exposure to alcohol suggest that youth are less likely to drink. Furthermore, tightening policies that regulate access to youth can help reduce the risk of youth drinking. Moreover, it argues that the evidence of effectiveness is sufficient to consider limiting closing hours of bars and hotels as a key way to deal with late-night violence in Australia by Wilkinson et al. (2016). However, a reduction of trading hours can affect overall alcohol sales, which is opposed by commercial interests related to the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages (Hahn et al., 2010). In particular, the ongoing trading hours policy may cause controversy, as the liquor industry has generally supported a policy to remove restrictions on access to alcohol.

School-Based Programs

One of the ways of preventing alcohol consumption among teenagers is the availability of support programs such as Resilient Families and Climate Schools. These programs provided by school-based on enhancing and supporting their health and wellbeing, aiming to change the alcohol behavior of adolescents (Shaykhi et al., 2013, and Lee et al., 2016). School-based programs can be participated by not only students but also by family members. For example, Resilient Families educates parenting skills for parents to improve parent-child relations and family management practices within the school community (Shortt et al., 2013). Students can also learn how to strengthen individuals such as problem-solving and environmental such as caring relationships at school. Those programs were specifically aimed to reduce adolescent alcohol misuse by modifying social-environmental risk and protective factors and allowing parents to be involved in the intervention (Shortt et al., 2013, and Lee et al., 2016).

Family control and family management play a key role in adolescent-onset antisocial behavior. Even though Family Resilient program encourages family relationship and this can be beneficial in long term periods in reducing adolescent antisocial behavior, this program had little or no evidence of effect in overall. This is because there is a limitation in this study. According to the current study, there were only 13% of families participated in parent education events. Therefore, the Resilient Families program should be more encouraged among family members (Shortt et al., 2013). On the other hand, Climate Schools had enough evidence of good outcomes to be widely recommended for general use. This program was more effective than usual classes in increasing alcohol-related knowledge, decreasing positive social expectations. For girls, the program reduced consumption, frequency, and drinking to excess; however, the behavioral effect was not significant for boys (Lee et al., 2016).

Regulate Advertising

Lastly, Australia has applied the industry self-regulation codes to alcohol advertisements in order to reduce the alcohol-related harm among adolescents. According to the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC), a mature, balanced and responsible approach of drinking alcohol must be presented in advertising and they must not appeal strongly to adolescents as well as children. Therefore, people in the ads must be over 25-years-old and they must not show offensive behavior or misuse of alcohol. Moreover, alcohol products advertising must avoid promoting that mood and environment can be significantly changed by consuming alcohol, otherwise underage people might think drinking alcohol is cool, sexy and fun. Also, any direct association between alcohol use and potentially dangerous activities, namely driving motorcycle, car or swimming, must not be depicted.

However, the Australia Drug Foundation insists that advertisers continuously break the regulations since there are no penalties. Jones et al. (2008) also argue that nearly 70% of alcohol advertising perceived to be breach the codes, which means the decision of the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) are not consistent with the judgment of independent experts. For instance, in magazines and newspapers, some of the alcohol ads regularly implied the message of social success, sexual relationship success and self-confidence. Also, despite the ban on advertisement in television, there are no restriction to advertise alcohol products in subscription TV but young people often spend more time to watch subscription TV than free-to-air (King et al., 2005). Therefore, current industry self-regulation seems to be, not yet, ineffective and weak to protect young people from consuming alcohol.


In conclusion, the main problems that adolescents who use risky drinking are facing are alcohol dependence, poor academic achievement, and anti-social behavior. To solve the problem of alcohol use in adolescence, the current solutions are the restriction of trading hours, school programs, and regulation of advertising. The restriction of trading hours is effective in reducing the drinking use of adolescents, although alcohol-related companies are opposed to this law due to commercial interests. The availability of support programs such as Resilient Families and Climate Schools, designed to help develop the relationship between students and parents, seems to be an effective solution, because it significantly reduced alcohol consumption among teenagers. Australia has applied industry self-regulation codes to alcohol advertisements to reduce alcohol-related harm among teenager; however, this is inefficient because young people often spend more time watching subscription TV than free-to-air. Were the above effective solutions to be implemented more widely, these problems related to the risky use of alcohol by Australian teenagers would be further diminished.

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Problems Faced by Adolescence Due to Risky Alcohol Use and Ways to Solve Them. (2022, December 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 30, 2023, from
“Problems Faced by Adolescence Due to Risky Alcohol Use and Ways to Solve Them.” Edubirdie, 15 Dec. 2022,
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Problems Faced by Adolescence Due to Risky Alcohol Use and Ways to Solve Them [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 15 [cited 2023 Mar 30]. Available from:
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