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Underage drinking has many possible consequences

Alcohol has some interesting effects on the human body. Delayed reaction times and lack of ability to determine risks are two that can affect a person who has consumed alcohol. The effects that alcohol has on a person seem to intensify in some people. For example, underage drinkers are likely to suffer from short-term and long-term consequences of their choice to consume alcohol.

Each year, around 5,000 people who aren't old enough to legally drink die in accidents that involve underage drinking. Of these, around 38 percent die in motor vehicle crashes, 32 percent die from a homicide, and 6 percent die from suicide. Those statistics alone show that underage drinking does have the possibility of being a fatal choice.

Underage drinking is also associated with making poor choices. This could lead to risky sexual behavior and trouble in school. Many people who drink alcohol before they turn 21 also use tobacco products. Some will use illegal drugs.

Their behavior can turn unruly, which can affect other people around them. Consider the fatal motor vehicle accidents that involve an underage drinker. In 45 percent of those fatalities, the person who died wasn't the underage driver.

Alcohol poisoning, death and hangovers are also possible because many underage drinkers don't realize their limits. Underage drinking can lead to heavy alcohol consumption later in life, which is associated with conditions like liver cirrhosis and certain cancers, among other conditions.

When an underage drinker gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, criminal charges are possible. Those drivers should learn about how they can fight back against the charges and administrative proceedings that can greatly affect them.

Source: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, "Consequences of Underage Drinking," accessed Aug. 30, 2016

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