LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Popping a top on a can of beer has become as common as opening a can of soda for many young Texans. "I hear normally about their wild weekends at the clubs or at parties or just different things like how drunk they got," said Kristen Alamo, Hudson High School senior and member of the Drug Free All Stars.
Those wild weekends are in line with alarming new statistics. New research prompted Texans Standing Tall and other local communitity coalitions to host an undreage drinking forum. In some cases, research shows as much as a 100% increase in teenage females driving under the influence. "They think drinking matures them and that's why a lot of young people do it. So they do it kind of intensely and that's why females are beginning to out-drink most males," said Phyllis Grandgeorge, Executive Director of Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council of Deep East Texas.
According to Grandgeorge, people who start drinking at a young age are more likely to seek help from places like the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council. "I see people and think well you started drinking at age 12 or 13 and you have a DWI and next thing I know, they have a drug problem. And usually they're young, around 18 or 19, and they're wasting their life," said Grandgeorge. Grandgeorge said it breaks her heart to see cases like that.
From listening to her peers, Alamo believes the root of the problem is at home. "If parents are doing their part by trying to make alcohol less accessible, then that gives my peers less of an opportunity to make a mistake," said Alamo. She said she understands the weight of the consequences of underage driniking. She's working to get the message out to her friends.
*The following information is from the Texans Standing Tall Report Card
Increases in Risky Behavior Among Females