Underage drinking high in teens

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, April 8, 2015

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Photo courtesy of Anheuser Busch.

Underage drinking remains the principal youth-related drug issue in the county, officials said Tuesday.

“We have many drug issues with our youth, but underage drinking continues to be the biggest problem in our area,” Children’s Policy Council Coalition Executive Director Susan Short said.

April marks alcohol awareness month.

As part of the April effort, agencies strive to reduce underage drinking to secure a healthy future for America’s youth.

Short said that in 2013, which is the latest statistics available, that Alabama has 260 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, of those 18.5 percent were for those under 21.

Still, the statewide 10-year change in under 21 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities was down 60.3 percent.

The Children’s Policy Council has sponsored checkpoints to help keep alcohol out of the hands of local teens.

Those checks include sobriety checkpoints and compliance checks at stores selling alcoholic beverages.

“Key finds are that alcohol compliance checks are a deterrent for youth drinking while driving or riding with a drinking driver and are in line with national data,” Short said.

Short also cited excessive alcohol use as means for developing health problems.

Among those are dementia, stroke, neuropathy, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, social problems, cancer risks, liver disease and more.