Alcohol use among teens is on the rise. According to the Center for Disease Control, most youth who drink do so to the point of intoxication, typically on multiple occasions. This is known as binge drinking (defined as having five or more drinks on a single occasion).
Just last year a 16-year-old high school female from Douglas County was killed in an alcohol-related car crash, where four people were arrested. Three of the four individuals were teenagers, and adults were charged with allegedly selling liquor to the minors. Another Douglas County related incident occurred at a house party where several teenagers took the life of an 18-year-old young man.
The conducts the Georgia Student Health Survey each year. Last year’s survey found that 33 percent of our high school students agreed that alcohol was easily obtainable. The survey also reported that parental disapproval for alcohol use was only 79 percent.
Underage drinking is an adult problem with youth suffering the consequences. Parental involvement is at the top of the list for ways to prevent children from starting to drink alcohol. Pre-teens, teens, and young adults must understand that starting to drink alcohol at an early age can have lifelong negative consequences to their physical and mental health, relationships and careers. Adults should consider that they have a responsibility to keep alcohol out of the hands of our young people.
April is Alcohol Awareness month, and the Live Healthy Douglas Coalition and the organizations, agencies, non-profits and citizens members have a month-long plan to educate the community about underage and binge drinking. The Douglas Alcohol Abuse Prevention Initiative (DAAPI) is a new component of the Live Healthy Douglas Coalition, whose mission is “Making Douglas County a drug-free and healthier place to live by reducing youth substance use and improving lifestyle choices through community collaboration, advocacy and education.” DAAPI is part of a state-wide initiative that will assess the community’s youth and young adult use and abuse of alcohol.
I encourage all of you to join in this initiative and show our young people that we do care.
Associate Juvenile Court Judge of Douglas County