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New Study Shows Increased Teen Drinking & Drugging

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Drinking alcohol every day is not a big deal—that’s what nearly half of U.S. teenagers think. A new study shows that alcohol and drug use among teens is heading in the wrong direction.

Kai Jackson has more on the troubling trend.

The words teens and alcohol never mix. But a new study is a sobering look at just how much young people are drinking.

The news is grim. Drug and alcohol use is up among young people in America, according to The Partnership at Drugfree.org.

“I guess it’s a problem. I guess a lot of people do it, mostly freshmen,” said Mary-Anne Nelligan, college student.

Drugfree.org did a study that found more than half of teens surveyed don’t feel that having five or more drinks a day is a big risk.

The average age teens have their first drink is 14, and 68 percent admit they’ve tried alcohol—experimentation that can have fatal results.

“Even people who party and go out a lot say ‘I wouldn’t do it every day,’” said Steve Pasierb, The Partnership at Drugfree.org.

Those we’ve talked to believe access to alcohol and peer pressure are two of the biggest reasons drinking among young people is so prevalent.

“They might see their friends and stuff drinking, so they might be influenced to drink,” said Arnold Costley, high school student.

“You’d be surprised at how many people go out and binge drink; it just seems to be completely normal,” said Melinda Knebel, college student.

Homeowners in Bel Air were recently charged with providing alcohol to minors as if they were running a bar.

The study shows that use of ecstasy and marijuana is also up among young people.

A local doctor believes he has a solution to teens and alcohol abuse.

“Teach them that there are responsible ways to drink as there are responsible ways to do other things, and I think we would eliminate a lot of this problem,” said Dr. Howard Bathos, Towson.

Research also shows that kids who learn about these issues at home are half as likely to use alcohol and drugs as kids who don’t.

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