March 6, 2007
For the first time, U.S Surgeon General, Ken Moritsugu, is waving a red flag.
“There are eleven million of our youth today who are drinkers,” he said.
A new report issued by the government suggests underage drinking is increasing and causing harm to America’s youth.
“Every year we loose 5,000 of our youth to drinking and to complications from drinking,” Moritsugu said.
The Surgeon General announced Tuesday a call to action. He is asking every community across the United States to get involved.
He said if parents, family members, teachers, government agencies and anyone else close to kids work together, it can help bring down the consistently high levels of underage drinking.
“We are seeing emerging information emerging research that says that the brain continues to develop well into our 20s,” said Moritsugu.
Because of this, early drinking habits can negatively impact the future of underage drinkers.
Charlottesville police say locally, it's not the younger drinkers they run across.
“We see the young adults right at the border line, nineteen, twenty-years old, not quite at the legal age,” said Sergeant Tito Durrette, of the Charlottesville Police Department.
On Friday or Saturday many of these local underage drinkers are making their way to bars, using illegal IDs.
“We turn away about twenty to twenty five kids a night,” said Ram McDonnell, Manager at the Biltmore Grill.
The U.S. Surgeon General has never issued a call to action before, but has addressed tobacco and drug use among America’s youth.
Even though the use of tobacco and illicit drugs has significantly declined, underage drinking he says is “drug of choice.”