Pubdate: Tue, 31 Aug 1999
Source: Inquirer (PA)
Copyright: 1999 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.


In the Inquirer article "Concert shows pull of alcohol on teens" (Aug.
9), you reported some very disturbing news  -- that 65 people ages 15
to 21 attending a daylong rock concert at the Camden Waterfront
Entertainment Centre ended up in the emergency rooms of three
hospitals. These cases were mostly due to acute alcohol

As alarming as this news is, we wonder whether most of your readers
realize the severity of the alcohol problem among young people today
or recognize its seriousness.

New Jersey's most recent surveys on substance abuse by middle and high
school students show that alcohol remains the number-one drug of
choice among youth: 30 percent of middle school students and 47
percent of high school students reported having used alcohol in the
month before the survey.

It's common practice among young people, at increasingly earlier ages,
to binge drink  -- consume large amounts of alcohol in a short period
of time. Yet there seems to be a much laxer attitude toward alcohol
use by youth than to the use of tobacco and illicit drugs.

We must grow as intolerant of underage drinking as we have of youth
smoking and illicit drug use. To achieve this, we must provide
accurate information about alcohol use to counter the messages that
glamorize drinking on which the alcohol industry spends $2 billion

The negative effects of underage drinking and the long-term life and
health consequences associated with early first use of alcohol are

Director of public policy National Council on
Alcoholism and Drug Dependence-New Jersey

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