Archive for Saturday, March 25, 2006

Forum to focus on teen drinking

March 25, 2006


For many students, drinking alcohol starts in junior high, not high school or college.

"I hear most people say that they started in about the ninth grade - a few people in the eighth grade, but that's not as common," said Karl McDonald, 17, a Free State High School senior.

He and Lydia Krug, 18, also a Free State senior, estimated Friday as they walked downtown that about two-thirds of their class members regularly drink alcohol. They said that if you want to get alcohol, you can, either through an older sibling or using what McDonald called a "Hey Mister": stopping a stranger and asking him to buy it.

Underage drinking is nothing new, but a new effort in Douglas County and across the state aims to draw more attention to the issue and to encourage parents to start talking with their children about it.

The local campaign kicks off with a town hall-style forum at 7 a.m. Tuesday at the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine. The event is open to the public, and so far about 50 people have called ahead to say they'll attend, said Janelle Martin, executive director of the Douglas County Community Health Improvement Project.


What: Town hall-style forum on drinking When: 7 a.m. Tuesday Where: Community Health Facility, 200 Maine Contact: Jen Brinkerhoff at 841-4138

The event will include local junior high school students as panelists and will cover topics including alcohol-related crashes, treatment options and underage drinking laws. Martin said she hoped it would "open some eyes to some of the parents who are in the audience."

"What we're hoping is that we can start a discussion communitywide among people who have kids that fall within the age range of fifth grade going up through high school to start talking with kids about the availability of alcohol : and about some of the harmful effects," Martin said.

Similar events will be taking place in 27 other counties in Kansas. All are tied to a federal campaign titled "Start Talking Before They Start Drinking," with information online at

According to the Community Health Improvement Project's figures, one-third of Kansas students in grades 8-12 reported in a 2005 survey that they drink at least monthly. Almost 22 percent reported they have gone on a drinking binge, defined as having five or more drinks in a short period of time.

People who are interested in attending Tuesday's event are asked to contact Jen Brinkerhoff by calling 841-4138 or e-mailing


BigMitch 12 years, 2 months ago

I agree, what else is there to do around this town? Go to movies... done that... bowling... done that...walk downtown... all the time... sleep?...

If Lawrence would spend more money bringing some entertainment to this town instead of putting flowers and round-a-bouts everywhere, we could help this problem. All the kids ever hear is "That's bad you need to find something better to do"... and that better thing would be?

Go to K.C. because they have a variety of things for younger people to do. O yea most of those kids don't have cars...

YourItalianPrincess 12 years, 2 months ago

I have to agree also............BOREDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!1

If Lawrence had something for the kids to do here, then they may not ( using the may not lightly ) want to just drink. Its like the old saying about kids growing up in small towns. Some say they have nothing to do but do drugs, drink and have sex.

Parents also need to install in their kids about the issues with drinking. As you know and have heard before what I have told my oldest son. If you get busted for something you knew was wrong, don't call me whining. I'm very straight forward with both my boys and I tell them like it is. Same issue with sex with my oldest. If you are going to have sex, then make sure you use a condom and she is on birth control.

I believe that all kids are going to drink at one point and parents should talk to them about it. You can't stop anyone from doing something, but you can educate them about the outcome.

Its a great day.........taking my little one to the park now. Have a great day everyone.........its finally sunny and nice out.

Confrontation 12 years, 2 months ago

I grew up in a town of 75 people. There were no movies, pools, libraries, or anything even somewhat exciting. It was far more boring that Lawrence. I didn't drink. I had a parent who did not set a "drinking example" for me. She was not only a single and working parent, but she also was an active and responsible parent. I had the freedom to go out with friends, but I knew the punishment that would come from making bad decisions. I respected her. Having her disappointed in me would have been the worst punishment. Don't blame "being bored" for stupid decisions that kids make. Take a look at the examples parents set, and their involvement in their kids lives.

Lorenzo_Teris 12 years, 2 months ago

I only drink beer.

Stuff like vodka is too much for me!

The last time that I got drunk from drinking too much vodka (when I was still a teen)....I almost died! Actually, more to the point, I wanted to die!! The hangover that I had had the following morning was like none other that I had ever experienced (before or since).

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