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Letters/My View

April 24, 2013

Letter: Taking aim at teen drinking issues

To the editor:

Teen alcohol use exceeds all other drug categories nationally, statewide and locally.

The more information you have, the more you can help your teen and yourself to make healthy and safe choices .

Please join us this Thursday at Rose Baker Senior Center from 6:30 to 8 p.m. to get informed about the legal consequences of underage drinking that can affect your teen and you.

We will welcome District Attorney Blodgett and Attorney Richard Campbell to Gloucester to help us all understand our responsibilities, because in the eyes of the law, “not knowing is not a defense.”

This event is a partnership of Healthy Gloucester Collaborative, the Gloucester Police Department, Gloucester Licensing Board and Council on Aging.

“Many parents and other adults, think drinking is an inevitable part of teen years… once adults see the harm to the teen brain, this thinking hopefully will change,” says Dr. John Knight of Boston Children’s Hospital (visit teen-safe.org.)

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that 90 percent of adult addiction begins before the age of 18 and nationally, four out of five people over 12 years of age have tried alcohol.

The 2011 Gloucester Student Health Survey shows a downward trend of high school teen “current” alcohol use, or use within 30 days of the survey, from 56 percent to 45 percent for the period between 2007 and 2011.

While good news, however, there remains cause for concern. Gloucester teen alcohol rates continue to be above the Massachusetts state averages for current teen use — the state average is 40 percent — and in binge drinking as well.

Let’s look at some myths and facts regarding underage drinking, and the social host law:

Myth: “Just alcoholics suffer serious effects of alcohol, it will never happen to me.”

Fact: The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports: One in six U.S. teens report alcohol induced blackouts, half of sexual assaults are alcohol-related and unprotected sexual activity, riding with a drunk driver or reckless driving increases with use.

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