Underage Drinkers Are Likely to Be Rich Kids

Janelle Harris

Teen drinkingIn case you’ve been keeping score, there are very few points and slashes under the “Good Things About Being Poor” header on the Battle of the Incomes scorecard. Aside from not having to worry about folks hitting you up to borrow money (because they know you ain’t got none) and qualifying for some pity-poor-people programming from time to time, it kind of sucks. Especially when you have teenagers who start every sentence with “I want” and end most of them with some variation of “pronto.”

But here’s a good reason to be thankful for poverty if that’s the line you, like me, are dancing on. Seems that research from a recent survey of students indicates that rich kids are 22 percent more likely to try alcohol than peers who hail from poorer, less affluent families.

Uhhh, that would be us. Hot diggity! Slap me a high five for being broke! I guess I can breathe a little easier knowing that The Burgeoning Teen Diva is already set up to be less susceptible to try a drink, mainly because she won’t be able to afford them. 

While wealthier families have access and funds to the accoutrements of a healthier lifestyle, they could also have the finer things — like a liquor cabinet — that make life on Easier Street a bit more interesting for a coming-of-age kid and their gang of friends.

Still, book-and-pencil research betrays what most of us see with our eyes and experiences in real life. Alcohol doesn’t have to be high-end to get the job done. I know plenty of kids who’ve ended up slathered across somebody’s floor from a glass of a wine that came from a carton or a few potent sips of infamous Mad Dog or Wild Irish Rose, both of which can be purchased when everybody scrapes together their change and stands outside the liquor store to convince some goofy adult to be their legal ID-carrying patsy.

Not discounting the stresses and issues and misadventures of being young, rich, and bored (yeahhhh right) but I still believe the biggest neon sign is around the communities filled with people who don’t have much to lose by regularly drowning their sorrows and burdens in a bottle of cheap whiskey or gin.

I’ve never had a drink in my life
, partly because I saw it destroy so many folks physically and emotionally when I was coming up and partly because I never felt like I needed it to have fun (I’m naturally a party in a pair of pumps), and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that The Girl will dodge the pressures to be proud to hold her liquor, too. At least we have one factor scratched off of our list of potential red flags. Money? Uncheck. 

How old were you when you tried alcohol for the first time?

Image via Biscarotte/Flickr

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