Preventing Underage Drinking

Dr. Eric Voth says parents must make pledges not to buy alcohol for their teens, and not allow any underage drinking in their home. Voth told a town hall meeting audience at the Pozez Center Thursday night that laws allowing 18 year olds to drink legally fly in the face of the argument that "if I'm old enough to die for my country, I'm old enough to drink."

Voth cites studies showing young minds are not fully developed until age 24. Not only is brain development continuing for 16, 17 and 18 year olds (and even 21 year olds..) but reaction time can be altered for any 16 year old behind the wheel with one drink (a blood alcohol level of .02).. Dr. Voth says their judgment is the first skill that is impaired when they drink, and it is the last to develop. 16 to 18 year olds also suffer the risk of dying in fatal accidents that's 10 times greater than a driver who turns 20!

Voth says last year's passage of a "beer keg registration" is a good step in tracking who's buying the beer in Kansas homes.. and the graduated driver's license laws being considered in this year's Kansas Legislative session are going to save teens lives, whether they drink or not.


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