According to The Telegraph, a recent study showed that adolescent rats (the worst kind) that were exposed to intermittent doses of alcohol experienced negative side effects—like heightened anxiety—later on in their development. Even worse: a recent Duke University study reported that teenage binge drinkers are 70% more likely to have heart attacks as adults. In terms of the increased anxiety caused, experts believe this may prove that teenagers who binge drink may be inflicting brain damage upon themselves—effects that translate to alcoholism and other psychiatric disorders in adulthood. I, for one, am kind of shocked by this—not by the fact that abusing alcohol in the formative years of brain development messes us up but that we are just doing studies on this now?
Regardless of what they may think (and what we thought at their age), teenagers are not fully formed—their brains are vulnerable to trauma and abuse—so repetitively overdoing it with keg stands and Jaeger bombs is going to have to arrest some kind of development. Still, do they know that?
Been There, Heard That
I actually don’t think this is new information. I know I heard that alcohol was bad for me during one of the DARE classes I was forced to attend in high school but I never absorbed any of that information. As far as I was concerned, drug and alcohol education was nothing more than adult propaganda—techniques old people used to scare us from having a good time. And I have to believe that is what teens (ones like me, at least) still believe when they hear about the dangers of alcohol abuse. But I suppose it’s still our duty to tell them.
The same way a compliment goes in one ear and out the other but a criticism can stay with us for a lifetime, we sometimes need to hear information over and over again to accept or believe it. I know that at some point I realized the most important tool I got in high school was “beer before liquor, never been sicker” and it made me understand that, when it comes to learning, you just never know what is going to stick.
A New Campaign
Advertisers and marketers are up against this conundrum every day. They are asked to promote products, some of which have been on the market for decades, in such a way that it motivates consumers to buy it. How do they manage to take the same old deodorant, the one that all know is strong enough for a man but PH balanced for a woman, and suddenly get us to switch brands? The only explanation is repackaging, rebranding and repetitive marketing.
So maybe that is what this is—fresh packaging on old information that is just too valuable to exist only in a newspaper article or in some random drug and alcohol presentation in Des Moines, Iowa. Perhaps what is happening is a subtle rebranding of facts out of the hope that one of these days, it will be just the right combination of content and timing and it will go viral. Until then, you should probably just share this story on Reddit, where a teen may actually take in what they read.
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