Dangers Of Drinking

By: Chris Sutter Email
By: Chris Sutter Email

By the time most students hit 9th grade, over half will have had some type of alcohol, and the age of student drinkers just keeps getting younger and younger.

"I know like 20 to 21 people-- a lot of people that drink alcohol," Sharard Muriel says.

He's 14 and he says so many of his friends drink that it's hard to say no.

"They say 'Come on, let's do it, just try it one time.' And I'll be like no, and then they try to call me a punk," Muriel says.

And while he doesn't drink, there is a good chance the person sitting right next to him does.

The Ingham County Health Department says 41% of students in the Tri-County area (Clinton, Eaton and Ingham)-- have had at least one drink of alcohol and 25% of those students have gotten into a car with a friend who was under the influence in the past thirty days.

"The numbers are really shocking. When you look at alcohol use in young people, as a public health problem-- it certainly ranks among the top," Dr. Dean Sienko of the Ingham Co. Health Department says.

Those statistics are reason enough to start alcohol education early, before it's too late.

"I've seen children die as an example of excessive drinking," Don Weatherspoon of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission says.

He's behind "Ask, Listen and Learn," a program that draws attention to alcohol abuse among youth. He says it's never too early for parents and teachers to warn their kids about booze.

"The youngest incident-- is second grade, where kids were bringing alcohol from their homes into the classroom," Weatherspoon says.

And the earlier they know-- the better the chance they don't become one of the countless victims of underage drinking.

Do You Talk To Your Kids About Drinking?

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