PTA takes action on binge drinking


Trevor Kanter, Staff Writer

The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has called upon Whitman, B-CC and Walter Johnson High Schools to combat underage binge drinking. Binge drinking is the consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol in a short period of time, which can lead to alcohol poisoning and serious mental health problems. A special meeting is planned for September 29 at 7 p.m., and students are welcome to attend.

“Binge drinking is one of the fastest growing problems throughout Montgomery County,” Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) president Joe Bush said. “Keeping our kids safe is a shared responsibility.”

PTA president Angie Melton has teamed up with the PTSA, as well as the principals from each of the three schools, and is working to make a positive impact on this issue.

“The three high schools involved want to show that we are united in our concern about drinking among our underage students,” Melton said. “We want to provide practical information for parents and students about both the physiological effects of drinking on teenagers and the practical, legal ramifications of teens drinking and parents knowing about it.”

Underage and binge drinking are major problems in Montgomery County and in counties across the country. Teens who are caught drinking are subject to criminal fines, mandatory community service and, in some cases, possible jail time. Citations for under age drinking go on the permanent records of those who receive them. Every job interviewer and university will be able to see those citations.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that about 11% of all alcohol consumed in the USA is by underage drinkers, and about 90% of that alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinking. The average number of beverages per binge drinker in Maryland is just above six drinks. The CDC also found that those who binge drink are 14 times more likely to report impaired driving than non-binge drinkers.

According to the CDC, alcohol-impaired driving killed almost 10,000 people in 2014.

The PTA believes that if more students are informed about the imminent dangers of binge drinking, then they would make better decisions about when, where and how much they drink. The meeting is only the beginning of the initiative against binge drinking, and Melton will be doing everything in her power to make a difference.

“We know that one meeting will not solve our problem, but we want to take proactive steps to keep our students safe,” she said.