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Family 411: Extreme Teen Drinking

CINCINNATI (WKRC) -- It's prom and graduation season and every year at this time, teenagers hear about the dangers of alcohol.
But some high school kids make the decision not to drink long before those milestones.
High school senior, C.J., tells Local 12's Sheila Gray, "You kinda want to be socially accepted, and that's where the big pressure is."

Every day in the US nearly 5,000 kids younger than 16 take their first full drink of alcohol.  Experts say underage drinking accounts for 11 to 20 percent of the US alcohol market.  But these three high school seniors can boast as they get set to graduate that they've never had a drink.

"A lot of it was attaching myself to the right type of people who have the same values," C.J. said.

C.J. is class President.  Tom's a future chemical engineer.

Tom said, "I always just thought it was not an intelligent thing to do."
Mark's a starter on the state champion basketball team, "I made the choice to be in the drug free club because it gives you a good excuse to say no and avoid bad temptations."   

Schools across the country have programs and clubs which encourage kids to say to say no to alcohol.  But educators say kids don't have to sign a pledge or join a club.  What's really important is surrounding kids with positive peer pressure to help them make good decisions.  Decisions like which friends they choose.

Tom said, "For me it was really easy because my friend group, none of us drink."

C.J. said, "Making sure we're respecting our bodies and trying to get the most out of our talents."

Mark said, "When all the people who care about you, parents, teachers, coaches, siblings; if they're telling you something it's probably right."
Most parents tell their kids not to drink, but the difference may be what young people learn from responsibility and consequences before high school.

"My dad worked undercover narcotics," Tom said.  "He just told me stories about all the bad things he's seen happen."

"They just sort of told me it's your choice, and it's going to come back to haunt you or it's going to come back to help you," Mark tells Sheila Gray.

C.J. said, "They always taught me to be the CEO of my life.  So every time I make a decision, it's to better my company, as in myself."
And perhaps leading to profits these young men have not yet imagined.  If you know someone who needs help the Alcoholism Council of Cincinnati has a list of resources and support groups.
You can call 513-281-7880 or CLICK HERE for more information.

Follow Sheila Gray on Twitter @SheilaGrayTV and LIKE her on Facebook Family 411: Extreme Teen Drinking

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