PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Alcohol: From the Mentors

From Lauren
As a new college student, I am well aware of the availability of alcohol. It's especially rampant where students are away from home and rules. At my college, within the first week we had seven freshmen students end up in the emergency room for alcohol poisoning! However, it's not just at college: I also recall my high school friends partying on weekends. It may seem like a lot of fun at parties, but the after effects are not worth it. Is it really worth a night of fun (that you might not even remember) to spend the morning in bed puking?

School programs cover issues related to alcohol, and they encourage you to "Just say no!" One thing they forget is what to do if that doesn't work. If you're at a party and offered alcohol and you don't want to drink, but also don't want to sound like a loser, just say something like, "I'm fine right now, thanks." They probably won't push it on you, and you won't feel like you need to drink against your will.

The simple fact with alcohol is that if you're under 21, it is illegal for you to drink. You will encounter friends and peers who ignore this, and ultimately the decision is up to you. One thing that's aided me is to find a group of friends that don't want to drink. If you have someone to do something with on the weekends, you won't feel obligated to attend parties that have alcohol. Rent some fun movies, make a fancy dinner, go to a local museum...there are plenty of options that do not involve drinking that are equally fun.

From Joel
To educate myself about alcohol, I have learned about drinking and driving and gone to SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving) meetings at my school. I know that alcohol used by a person under the age of 21 or used in an abusive manner can put a person in much danger. It's especially hard for me when I hear about peers and even friends who drink alcohol, because I am afraid of what might result from this type of behavior and just have to hope that this drinking won't become addictive and destroy their future. I believe kids and teens should try hard to resist temptations of drinking alcohol and just enjoy being kids, and have fun in different ways like going to the movies or playing sports.

To resist this temptation, I think it's best to talk about this problem with a parent, or if that's uncomfortable maybe a friend who feels the same way you do. If you know a friend who drinks that is under 21, be strong and courageous and tell an adult. You might save your friend's life. Be safe rather than be sorry. You will be proud and thank yourself in the future.

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