Grim Statistics of Underage Drinking

Article excerpt

Dear Ann Landers: This editorial appeared two years ago in the Myrtle Beach, S.C., Sun News. I thought it was worth sharing with your readers, and I hope you think so, too. CAROLINA READER

I do, indeed. Many thanks for sending it on. I hope every teen-ager who reads my column will ask him or herself, "Could any of these things happen to me?" Here's the editorial:

"High school graduation. It brings teen-agers from all over the state to the beach to have a fling before they settle into summer jobs, college or whatever they want to do when they grow up.

"Are they having fun here this week? Ask the emergency room staff at Grand Strand General Hospital.

"Six teens were treated at Grand Strand between Thursday and Sunday for alcohol poisoning. One girl had been drinking grain alcohol and vodka from a funnel. Some had near-lethal blood alcohol levels, 0.45 percent. The legal limit for intoxication is 0.10 percent; anything at 0.40 or above is life-threatening.

"Another teen died on Sunday. The 19-year-old from Greenwood had a blood alcohol level of 0.25 percent when he leaned over a hotel balcony and fell. He landed on his head.

"The fun continues:

"Monday night, a 16-year-old with a blood alcohol level of 0.18 percent chipped a vertebra when he jumped eight feet down a staircase at a hotel.

"Tuesday night, a half-dozen more kids were hospitalized with alcohol overdoses. One was barely breathing.

"All this happened here, in one community, in less than a week.

"What can we do?

"We can make sure our children know and understand the dangers and the consequences, like these, of under-age and irresponsible drinking. …