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Groups Try to Curb Underage Drinking

By Daniel Cherry | Published 15 Apr 2011 02:03pm | comments

More than 72 percent of adolescents in Mississippi have reported trying alcohol. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how some anti drinking groups are trying lure children from the temptation to drink.

The CDC says children who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times as likely to develop an alcohol addiction than those who wait until 21. Mekayla Wells and Jada Bell both eleven years old say they have seen other children their age already drinking.

"They act very inappropriate and childish even though they are children. So it's scary because they're not supposed to be drinking and they're drinking. Then people will come to school and they say 'Look what I've got', but it's nothing that you should be surprised about. They shouldn't even be drinking anyway.'"

A recent study of high school students in Mississippi shows more than 20 percent of teens say they drank heavily in the month prior to the survey. That's something Velesha Williams of the Mississippi Underage Drinking Coalition finds disturbing.

"Young folks because of their daredevil behavior, a feeling like they're exempt from being harmed, they have a tendency to over do things. They don't know the limits and they don't respect of acknowledge that the limits apply to them."

"It's common for them to tell us I started at 14. I started at 15."

That's Herbert Loving, Bureau Director for Alcohol and Drug Services for Mississippi. He says his adult patients are proof education can't start too soon.

"It's almost to the T they started very early. So if you wait until after high school usually you won't start...and if you do start you'd be a moderate user."

Loving says nearly 10 percent of patients treated for alcohol and drug addiction are under the age of 21. Daniel Cherry...MPB News.




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