Many parents are giving a sigh of relief. After a decade of turning on with all kinds of illegal, strange drugs, teenagers are turning back to the familiar, tried-and-true alcohol. They need to consider the words of Dr. Morris Chafetz, Director of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the United States: "Parents who learn their children are not using the so-called 'other' drugs, but the drug alcohol, are relieved. And while we are not getting into a competitive battle with other drugs, but a comparative one, parents are being relieved into a serious situation. Since no drug comes close in any measurement to the human and social destruction of alcohol problems, these parents are being relaxed into a situation that is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire." Teenage tippling is nothing new. What is new is that they seem to be starting at an earlier age and seem to be hitting the bottle harder than previous generations. Drinking and driving is one of the major hazards of teenage drinking. The car has become a favorite "watering hole" for youth. But drinking and driving don't mix — about 60% of traffic deaths among youth involve alcohol. Drinking and other drugs don't mix either. Taking alcohol and uppers, downers, or opiates can result in a synergistic syndrome. That is, the combining of two drugs may result in an effect far greater than the sum of effects of the drugs taken on separate occasions. For example, one small dose of antihistamine chased down by one small dose of alcohol will have not two — but perhaps 20 times the effect of a single drink, And alcohol mixed with barbiturates or other "downers" can be fatal. Experimentation and excess seem to be hallmarks of adolescence. In the case of drunkenness, it might seem like fun at the time, but it can be fatal when mixed with driving or other drugs. And then there is always the hangover the next day as well as long-term hazards to the health and pocketbook if one drunken binge leads to another, and then another, and then another. That is why God counsels: "Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your mind in the way. Be not among winebibbers, or among gluttonous eaters of meat; for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags" (Prov. 23:19-21 ). And Solomon, who had tried it all, wrote: "Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. Remove vexation from your mind, and put away pain from your body.... Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth..." (Eccl.11:9-12:1).
WHEN "FREE SEX" IS NOT SO FREE
Every year millions of teenagers discover that "free sex" is really not so free after all. One price they pay for their promiscuity comes in the form of VD. Venereal disease is that part of promiscuous sex that teenagers don't like to talk about — or, for that matter, don't know much about — but that a lot of them are contracting. In fact, the number of teenagers afflicted by VD has reached epidemic proportions. Every hour of every day in the United States, over 20 persons aged 15-19 become infected with gonorrhea. More than 750,000 new cases of gonorrhea were reported to health officials in 1973. Well over two thirds of the cases occurred among persons under 25. Almost half of these were teens and younger — ages 10-19. The picture is actually darker than these statistics paint. Health authorities use the rule of thumb that the actual number of new cases of VD is about four times the reported number. Worse yet, there are at least a dozen diseases other than gonorrhea and syphilis that can be contracted by sexual intercourse. The "dirty dozen" include trichomonas vaginalis, chlamydia, nonspecific urethritis, genital warts, and pubic lice or "crabs." But the one that most concerns health authorities is the herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV). Ten years ago it was thought to be a rare disease. But now a conservative estimate of 300,000 genital herpes infections are being treated annually in the U.S., making HSV the second most prevalent venereal disease. "Chastity is the only known guarantee against venereal disease," says Dr. Philip Reichert. "This is one of the oldest medical facts known to man." Also one of the oldest biblical facts. The number of biblical warnings and examples of the hazards of promiscuity are too numerous to mention. Suffice it to cite the warnings in a book especially addressed to young people: Proverbs. Young people are specifically warned to see through the temptations of promiscuity and consider the end result — to see the very unhealthy hook in the appealing bait. Proverbs 5:11 in particular describes the health consequences, probably, including venereal disease: "And thou moan, when thine end cometh, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed" (Jewish Publication Society translation). The biblical injunctions against promiscuity are not arbitrary do's and dont's. They are based on the real facts of life and love. For more information read our free booklets VD - The Silent Epidemic and Is Sex Sin?