On May 7, an article titled “Mock crash uses fear factor” reported on the Todd Beamer High School assembly concerning underage drinking and driving.
As the keynote speaker at the assembly, I was impressed with the program and the attentiveness of the students in attendance. After reading the article though, I was disturbed by the quote that was printed from the student that states “Because we’re
teenagers, we’re not going to say ‘don’t drink,’ because we’re teenagers,” adding, “The whole point is to be smart about it and don’t drink and drive.”
This quote insinuates that all teenagers drink and that it’s acceptable as long as you are “smart about it.” As a drug and alcohol prevention specialist in the public schools, I witness daily the destructive affects of alcohol on our young people and am very concerned with the attitude that it is socially acceptable for teens to drink.
The facts are, it is illegal for teens to drink and there are reasons that the legal drinking age is 21 years old.
Furthermore, according to the 2006 Healthy Youth Survey, only around 40 percent of seniors in our high schools have consumed alcohol in the past month. Not all teenagers are drinking and many are making the right choice.
But as a society, we should be giving and promoting the message that teenagers shouldn’t drink. If we continue to ignore the problem of underage drinking, we are going to continue to mourn the losses of our young people because of it.
As a person who has lost a daughter in a DUI collision, it saddens me that we continue to accept the myth that “because we’re teenagers” it’s acceptable to drink.