Police: Summer means more teens drinking - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Police: Summer means more teens drinking


Less than a week ago, a Columbus teen lost her life after police say her 17-year-old boyfriend was driving under the influence and lost control of their vehicle. 

Then, on Sunday, Columbus police charged 26 teens at a house party for drinking.

Summertime is here and authorities say that is when teenage drinking increases.

Natalia Williams was about 15-years-old when she started drinking heavily.

"It gave me feelings of acceptance and happiness and somewhat joy at the moment," said Williams.  

With the help of the Juvenile Drug Court in Columbus, she has been sober for 2 years.

"I am happier because with a job and finishing school and everything, it is just a lot easier," said Williams.

Authorities say during summer, underage drinking goes up. Mary Bode, the director for the Juvenile Drug Court, says you need to talk to your kids at an early age about the consequences of drinking.

"Statistics show that the longer a child is using drugs, be it cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, it will be more difficult for the child to get off drugs," said Bode.

Research shows that alcohol is the most widely used substance abuse among youth in the United States. Judge Warner Kennon, the presiding judge for the Drug Court program, says parents need to be examples for their kids.

"Lead by example. Certainly, they should never be intoxicated, certainly they should never come home intoxicated.  They should never drive after driving.  They need to raise the bar and set the example," said Judge Kennon.

Sergeant. Donald Bush with the Columbus Police Department's D.A.R.E. Program gives you signs to look for if your child is abusing alcohol or any other drugs.

"May be something simple as a child is being alone some time or they may not want to be with other friends or they may have strange friends that all of a sudden appear, but they don't ever want to talk about them to the parents," said Bush.

Williams encourages kids to not give into pressure.

"Wanting to be with your friends and thinking that there's nothing wrong with it cause everyone else does it. There actually is something wrong with it."

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