Worcester Teens Discuss County's Binge Drinking Problem - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Worcester Teens Discuss County's Binge Drinking Problem

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WORCESTER CO., Md. - Students in Worcester County gathered at Stephen Decatur High School Monday to tackle a tough topic for teens - binge drinking.

"I hope people will learn how serious this binge drinking has become in high school," said Kandyce Tolbert, a senior at Decatur High.

It's an issue facing the county at an alarming rate. According to data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Worcester ranks third in the state for adult binge drinkers, with 19 percent of those surveyed saying they have more than five drinks at a time. Wicomico came in 22nd with 12 percent, and Somerset was in last place with just nine percent.
 
With prom Saturday, graduation after that and summer around the corner, Tolbert says it's prime time for teens to pick up the bad habit. That's why she and the Students Against Destructive Decisions hosted a community town hall to discuss why students do it, and what can be done to stop it.

"We really wanted to get down to our youth to talk about the impact of binge drinking," said Marty Pusey, director of prevention services for Worcester County Health Department.

"First of all, we don't want underage youth to be drinking at all," Pusey said. "The real concern with underage drinking was over consumption. Their definition of drinking is binge drinking."  

But for Tolbert, she says several personal reasons help her turn down the drinks.

"It's very easy for me to say no, and I'm trying to help other kids be able to say no as easily as I am," Tolbert said. "You can have so much more fun without drinking."

The conversation continued through the evening, covering potentially devastating outcomes like sexual assault, arrest and even death.

Tolbert says they're a lot of consequences that don't have to happen.

"It's better so they're more aware on their prom night so they don't do anything destructive," Tolbert said. "Just try to avoid it."

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