To reduce under-age drinking, there has to be a change in how young people view alcohol use. That’s according to the Florida Office of Drug Control. Surveys in the state reveal 90 percent of students think smoking or doing drugs is “un-cool,” while only 60 percent think drinking is un-cool. Yet statistics show drinking is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined. Director of the Office of Drug Control in Florida, James McDunna, says there needs to be a focus on middle school students.
“We find that the break point is in middle school. For the most part, children enter middle school and not doing other substances, either—smoking or drugs. But, the sixth grader runs into the 8th grader. And he’s saying ‘Hey, why don’t you try some of this stuff?” So, if you track the percent of use, it really increases dramatically between 6th grade and 8th grade.”
McDunna cites drunk driving, brain damage, and risky sexual behavior as reasons his office wants to curtail underage drinking. Although all under age drinking is illegal… there appear to be major differences in how parents approach the issue. In some homes, there’s zero tolerance for alcohol use. In others, parents introduce children to alcohol in moderate amounts— in hopes of teaching them to consume responsibly. Still some parents don’t discuss alcohol use at all.
Monday, 30 May 2005 01:00