Officials have a message for those that aren’t legally allowed to drink yet.
Choose before you pick up the booze, because officials say underage drinking can cause serious damage, even early-on in life.
“Alcohol use by youth can interfere with the developing brain. It can also cause other negative consequences such as people, academic and social problems. It can also lead to unintentional injuries and accidents,” said Frederick County Department of Health, AODA Prevention Coordinator, Laura Lamotte.
Each day in the United States, more than 4,000 people under the age of 16 take their first full drink of alcohol, according to health officials.
Locally, one third of Frederick County high school students reported having at least one drink of alcohol on one or more occasions within the past 30 days.
But, they said local parents can help play a big role in preventing alcohol use among underage people.
“So, although this number is fewer than it has been in previous years, we’re hoping [to reach] the goal [of] zero to ensure that Frederick County youth stay healthy and safe,” said Lamotte.
With April being Underage Drinking Awareness Month, officials at the Frederick County Health Department want to bring the issue to the forefront in hopes to help put it to an end.
“According to the Center for Disease Control, youth who start drinking before the age of 15 are six times more likely to develop a dependence on alcohol later in life than those who choose to wait until they’re 21,” said Lamotte.
Local resident Kannan Spencer said he can agree with underage drinking prevention early on.
“I honestly don’t like it. I didn’t do it when I was in high school. I really don’t see why kids need to drink and what not. What are you celebrating? You’re still in school. Come home, do you homework and have some water. [There is] no need to drink alcohol and get drunk,” said Spencer.
Health officials said approximately one in six students reported binge drinking, defined as drinking five or more drinks within a couple of hours.