Local News

Studies Show Problem Drinking Often Starts in High School

Posted November 20, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Researchers say many young people who drink in college and into adulthood started in high school, but the problem of underage drinking is not going unnoticed. One group has made it its mission to keep teens from taking that first drink.

Messages promoting alcohol are everywhere, even in magazines that teenagers read. For some, however, those messages come from home.

Because of alcoholism in her family, 17-year-old Jessica Groome has joined The North Carolina Initiative to Reduce Underage Drinking.

Project Development Director, Barbara Alvarez Martin, says parents often do view drinking as a problem for teens.

Young people in North Carolina have easier access to alcohol because they can simply walk into a convenience store and pick up a six pack that's why organizers of the initiative are trying to get merchants to get serious about carding.

Convenience Store Clerk Kevin Taylor says he is careful about selling alcohol.

Police say enforcing this could be a matter of life and death, whether a teen gets behind the wheel of a car or simply drinks himself to death.

That's the sort of thing this group wants to prevent.

The initiative is funded by a four-year, $1 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. North Carolina is one of 12 states participating in the program.

Photographer:Joe Frieda