Although the legal purchase age is 19, a majority of young people under this age consume alcohol, and too many of them do so in an irresponsible manner. This is largely because drinking is seen by these youth as an enticing forbidden fruit, a trophy of rebellion against authority, and a symbol of adulthood. We can relate the illegal ways of the youth today, to the measures taken during the prohibition in Canada from 1918 to 1920. These efforts to prevent drinking were unenforceable and created serious social problems such as the development of immoderate consumption patterns, widespread disrespect for law, and the growth of organized crime. These problems are very similar to the troubles we face today with underage drinking. Prohibition tended to destroy moderation and instead promoted great excess and abusive drinking. People tended to drink alcohol in large quantities on those occasions when they could obtain it. The notorious speakeasies and bootleggers didn't exist before prohibition, when people could drink legally and leisurely. What is occurring currently is age-specific prohibition and young people are forced to create their own speakeasies in the basements of their houses and other secret locations where they, too, must drink their alcohol in the absence of moderating social control. According to Health Canada, fewer young people are drinking and their average consumption levels have been dropping along with that of the general population. Since 2004 there has been a statistically significant decrease in past-year alcohol use among youth 15 to 24 years of age, from 82.9% to 70.8% in 2011. Although the amount of alcohol consumption by youth is decreasing, many tend to drink abusively when they do consume. Students typically believe that their peers have much more permissive attitudes toward alcohol abuse than they really do. The importance of this general misperception is that it fuels problem behaviors as students try to live up to a distorted image of...
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