Video: April is Alcohol Awareness Month – Underage Drinking

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – A new report shows that parents who allow children to take “a little sip” of alcohol could be leading them towards a life of addiction.

“It causes more damage than any other drug, legal or illegal,” says Keenyn Wald, Clinical Coordinator at the Pines and Cady Hill Recovery Center in Columbus.

Alcohol is the drug of choice for America’s youth. New research shows that people who drink alcohol by sixth grade are five times more likely to abuse alcohol as teens and adults. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that about 10% of children ages 9 and 10 have started drinking. Wald says parents should be cautious about giving children ‘any’ liquid that contains alcohol.

“Often it starts off innocently enough. ‘Well, my grandma gave me this medicine when I was really sick. I remember that I really like that feeling.’
It kind of of grows from there,” says Wald.

Experts say parents who think it’s ok to give children a taste of alcohol are sending a mixed message about underage drinking. Children of alcoholics are between four and 10 times more likely to become alcoholics themselves. Underage alcohol abuse also accounts for medical problems later on in life including a stroke, cancer and brain damage.

“The younger that an individual gets some sort of alcohol, it’s actually going to impact their brain greater because of the early development that it’s in,” says Wald.

Wald says the earlier children are educated about alcohol abuse, the more likely underage drinking can be prevented. Each year, an estimated 5,000 people under the age of 21 die from injuries that involved underage drinking.

About 600,000 students ages 18 to 24 are also injured each year while under the influence of alcohol.

Categories: Local News

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