Pubdate: Mon, 07 Jun 1999
Source: Daily Gazette (NY)
Copyright: 1999 - The Gazette Newspapers
Contact:   (518) 395-3072
Author: Walter F. Wouk


Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey describes alcohol as "the most dangerous drug in

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, alcohol is a
gateway drug. While dangerous for kids in its own right, alcohol offers a
gateway to and training ground for progression to other, even more
dangerous, drugs of abuse.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America claims that alcohol is the most
widely tried drug among teen-agers - over 50 percent of eighth graders and
eight out of 10 high school seniors report having tried alcohol.

A recent national household survey on drug abuse indicated that 11 million
individuals, ages 12 to 20, had used alcohol during the 30 days prior to
the interview. Of this group, 4.8 million, or more than 40 percent, engaged
in binge drinking, including 2 million heavy drinkers.

The American Automobile Association reports that teen-age drivers account
for only 7 percent of the driving population but are involved in nearly 20
percent of all crashes - and 14 percent of all fatal crashes.

Despite these facts, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the
Partnership for a Drug Free America do not want to include anti-alcohol
messages in their five-year, $2 billion anti-drug ad campaign aimed at kids
ages 9 to 19.

Talk to your kids about alcohol - and ask your congressman why the
government doesn't.

Walter F. Wouk
The writer is president of the Capital Region National Organization for the
Reform of Marijuana Laws.

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