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Expert Warns Teens And Parents Of Alcohol’s Danger

March 23, 2009 by Josh Morgan

Waiting five more years before taking that first drink of alcohol can make all the difference in the outcome of a teenager’s life.
According to Chris Brown, a school psychologist and professional counselor, a teenager is 685 percent less likely to abuse alcohol in their late 20s if his or her first sip of alcohol occurs at age 19 instead of age 14. However, a recent Cheshire survey on risky behavior showed that nearly 50 percent of respondents said they had their first sip of alcohol between the ages of 13 and 15.
“Some middle school students said drinking was acceptable,” Brown said. “And, they are five times more likely to have had a drink in the past 30 days.”
Freshmen in high school are three times more likely to drink if they believe the behavior is acceptable, Brown said.
His observations were part of a March 19 presentation, sponsored by the Cheshire Coalition to Stop Underage Drinking, on alcohol and its affects on the teen brain. His goal was to inform the public on the risks of underage drinking on teenage brains, which are still developing until the age of 25. Besides drunk driving, Brown said there were other “less visible” risks that parents and teens need to be aware of such as injury, violence, and sex.
“These are life changing and unfixable events,” Brown explained, “but they are completely avoidable.”
The presentation was the third of four events planned by the Coalition as a way to educate the public on the dangers of alcohol. At the meeting, Sarah Bourdon, the Coalition’s project coordinator, said she was happy to see some newcomers attend the meeting because it’s their goal to “inform people.”
“Knowledge is power,” Bourdon said. “It’s our mission to educate.”
Brown explained that it “doesn’t take long” for alcohol to start impacting the brain and its reasoning mechanisms. He said that it’s a goal to protect the brain from birth, from baby gates blocking the stairs to bicycle helmets. However, alcohol could have the biggest impact of all on a developing teenage brain.
“Alcohol impacts brain development,” Brown said. “It affects the memory centers and negatively impacts managing social stress.”
With the advent of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, Brown says there is a “tremendous fear of missing out on something” that circulates among teens, which he thinks “leads to more stress.” With increased stress levels, it is more likely that a teenager will experiment with drugs and alcohol to cope. Unlike in years past, when marijuana was referred to as the gateway drug, Brown explained that alcohol is becoming the first substance young people choose.
“I haven’t seen kids who use pot or cocaine that haven’t first used alcohol,” he said. “There is no such thing as safe teenage drinking.”
Brown said parents should band together and be the “mean parents” who don’t let drinking parties occur in their house. As these parent groups become larger, it would eliminate the so-called safe drinking environment where parents take away keys and make sure teens spend the night. However, there are other risks, such as physical injury or alcohol poisoning.
“It has nothing to do with drunk driving,” Brown said. “ It has everything to do with situations that appear to be safe and aren’t.”
Resident Bill Beebe said he attended the meeting because he has two teenagers at home and he was trying to “figure out what’s best.” Beebe said he enjoyed the presentation and he was “impressed,” adding that the message “reinforced his beliefs” of safe parenting.
This was a good way to try and keep up on things, “Beebe said. “I think we all learned something here tonight.”
The next Coalition meeting, the last in the four-part series, is scheduled for May 7. For more information, visit the Coalition’s Web site at www.cheshirecsud.org.

Comments

Teen drinking

April 29, 2009 by burban (not verified), 5 years 13 weeks ago
Comment: 13

It is pretty hard to catch teens when the teens bedroom is being used as a party place or gangout. The teens some how get the liquor from their parent's supply bring it to there rooms and offers it to their friends. the parents do not count the bottles or contents. Next thing that happens is another teen mom calls to speak to her daughter, but the teen doesn't come to the phone. Then the mom goes to that house to pickup her daughter and is ignored by the parents who own the house. After 20 minutes of calling, beeping the car horn goes into the house because the parents won't answer the door. The parents let the dog loose to jump on the mom, who somehow askes where her daughter is? The mom is instructed to go up into the teens bedroom and find out. After running like hell from the dog up two fleets of stairs, finds her daughter passed out on the floor. The other teens just sitting on the bed dumb faced and says" She must have food poisoning". The mom says" thanks for having the decency of informing me she was sick!" Of course being sarcastic. Carries her daughter down the two fleets of stair on her back, at which time the daughter is saying " I don't know waht happened to me". Mom brings her to the hospital. The daughter has alcohol poisoning and has been sexually assaulted. She calls the police to investigate and the teen hostess and her parents say the drunk girl stole the liquor and knew nothing about it. Meanwhile two other teens tell police that the teen hostess gave it to all of them, but that girl got sick. No arrest. The teen hostess's parents tell the police that they will not press charges on the drunk girl for stealing the liquor. Next day the hostess's mom calls the sick girls mom to tell her that her daughter is not welcomed anymore and not to come on their property or she'll be arrested.
On the contrary, the police ought to have arrested the parents and all the other 5 teens up in the bedroom. Police say because the drunken teen was 18 and the hostess 16, that the 18 year old should not have allowed it to happen. Police say that the teen hostess told them that she did not tell her parents because she didn't want to get the drunk girl in trouble.So what is wrong with this incident?

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