Let&8217;s confront teen alcohol, drug use now

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2006

Drug and alcohol abuse among teenagers cuts across all lines &8212; socioeconomic, ethic, racial.

And it&8217;s going to take all of us to help combat it.

Natchez is certainly not alone among communities in which teenagers abuse drugs and alcohol

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But many experts &8212; such as educators and law enforcement officers who see the detrimental effects of abuse &8212; say that Natchez&8217;s culture contributes to the problem.

And to begin to fix it, we have to admit there is a problem.

Underage drinking is not just a simple rite of passage for teenagers; it is not something we can accept because so many do it. Just ask the grandparents of Monterey&8217;s Krista Drew, who nearly lost their granddaughter last year when alcohol poisoning sent her to the hospital near death. Just ask any teenager in juvenile custody because he or she has been caught with drugs.

Throughout this week we will be looking at the problem of teen drinking and drug abuse. We&8217;ll be looking at the causes, the dangers and the possible solutions. We&8217;ll be looking at how adults enable the problem &8212; and how we can stop it. And we want to hear from you. Vote in today&8217;s online poll; send a letter to the editor. Talk about how to solve the problem. But more important: Talk to your teenagers about the dangers.

Talk to them today.