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Extreme Drinking

Spring means a lot of things to thousands of students. For many high school and college students it means travel and extreme drinking.

You don’t have to go far to see pictures of hard-partying teens and young adults on the internet. For them, binge drinking has become a dangerous badge of honor. But it comes as a price, last year 1700 lives were lost.

There are new voices saying this doesn’t have to be.

“When I was in high school, I didn’t think there was anyone who didn’t drink,” said a former binge drinker that didn’t want to be identified.

He said he quit drinking when he saw a friend die.

“I had to see it happening to others before I could see that it was real,” he said.

It’s real all right, consider this; the CDC defines a binge drinker as one who drinks at least 8 drinks at a time, at least four times per month.

But it’s not just college kids who are binge drinking. Four percent of sixth graders in Indiana report binge drinking. That number triples by 10th grade. By the time they are seniors, a third of the class are binge drinkers. Once they hit college, more than 40% binge drink.

24-Hour News 8 obtained undercover images of students drinking at two different Indiana colleges. At one party, its beer pong at the other, a young man does a keg stand. Drinking to get drunk, drinking to excess.

But really, can anything totally prevent kids from binge drinking?

“You can’t sweep these things under the rug and let’s not talk about it,” said Butler University President Bobby Fong.

Dr. Fong calls it a crisis and he’s not alone. He’s now one of 130 college presidents and chancellors calling for a debate over whether the drinking age should be lowered.

“I would like to have opportunities for students 18 to 20 to be able to drink in the company of adults in controlled situations,” said Dr. Fong.

The science is real clear on the adolescent brain and drinking,” said Dr. Zielke. “National study after national study says that the longer you can prevent alcohol from touching an adolescent brain the outcomes will be better for them later in life,” said Dr. Zielke.

Dr. Fong believes an apprentice license would take the thrill out of drinking by allowing 18 to 20 year olds to drink as responsible adults do.

“That would permit students to be served in restaurants, in private homes, but not to be able to buy alcohol across the counter to take back,” said Dr. Fong.

“It doesn’t have merit because it isn’t teaching kids how to drink. You’ve got a good section of the population; early drinking is going to initiate a lot of brain changes. It’s going to take its own course,” said Dr. Zielke.

And what do students think of the idea of an apprentice license to drink?

“I actually think it’s a good idea,” said Gretchen Gaskin a student.

Lissette Martinez, a student said, “I think doing that would just make younger kids want to do that.”

Maybe the best expert is the former binge drinker. 24-Hour News 8’s Debby Knox asked him, “The whole idea of lowering the drinking age, do you think it’s a good idea or a bad idea?”

“I would have to say it’s a bad idea. If the binge drinking is the problem they’re trying to solve,” said the former binge drinker.

She asked, “Why do you say that?”

“The cap on the 21 year old is not the reason the kids are drinking. It’s because they want to have fun,” said the former binge drinker.

The state of Minnesota is considering lowering the drinking age.

For those that want to help a teen not drink, here’s are a few tips to prevent it.

  • Don’t allow them to go to open parties, where the host doesn’t know the guests, where there is an open flow of alcohol.
  • Drinking games should absolutely be forbidden.
  • Encourage relationships and be a good role model yourself.

source: WISH TV

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