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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  • by Sue Location: Jackson on Apr 26, 2009 at 12:35 PM
    While I agree somewhat with Mark's comments; it wasn't just the drinking that contributed to the deaths of Sylvia Porter & her son; but rather the behavior of the individual. It is my understanding that his driver's license was revoked but he went ahead and drove anyway. Drinking alone is not the problem; but individuals lack of accountability for their actions. How many times have you heard someone try to blame someone else for their actions? We are all responsible for what we do and it's time that people are held accountable. Someone with a revoked driver's license who drives has little concern about others and obviously they need help to understand that they are on a destructive course before it ends up taking a life.
  • by Mark Location: Lansing on Apr 24, 2009 at 07:58 PM
    Anyone who doesn't think drinking is dangerous, look for the story of Sylvia Porter and her son Major Washington, Jr. They were killed in a car crash Monday night when a drunk driver plowed into their car.
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