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By: PRWeb
April 04, 2012 at 01:01 AM EDT
Drew Cochran, from the Annapolis Defense Law Firm Cochran, Cochran & Chhabra, Offers Tips on Preventing Teen Binge Drinking

Kids are hitting the bottle in greater numbers these days, enough to cause the Surgeon General to issue a report warning parents about alcohol consumption among minors, says Drew Cochran, a partner in the Annapolis defense law firm Cochran, Cochran & Chhabra. According to the study, Mr. Cochran said, there are 11 million underage drinkers in the U.S., and 7.2 million of these teens and preteens are binge drinking.

"Kids are gravitating towards the newer, flavored hard liquors the alcohol industry is producing," said Mr. Cochran who defends teens accused of alcohol related infractions. "And they're not sipping--they're gulping it down like soda. The Surgeon General calls it the drug of choice for teens in America."

"The statistics are staggering. Children who get drunk for the first time under the age of 15 are five times more likely to have alcohol-related problems later on in life," Mr. Cochran added. "And if alcoholism is in your family, your child is four times more likely to become an alcoholic. It's been estimated that more than three million teenagers are alcoholics in this country, and millions more are classified as having a serious drinking problem."

In the last five years, some troubling new trends have emerged:

  • There have been an increasing number of younger kids who are referred to the court as first time users.
  • More 12 and 13 year olds are going to the emergency room as a result of binge drinking.
  • More girls are being referred to the courts than ever before.

Mr. Cochran says if parents are worried that their teen might be binge drinking, they should consider taking these steps:

Know the warning signs. Signs of extreme drinking include a drop in grades, changes in behavior and mood, a new set of friends, memory lapses, and difficulty concentrating.

Open a dialogue. Ask your kids what kinds of experiences they're having, make your personal values clear, and calmly lay out the risks. Studies have found that parents who combine clear expectations of accountability with support and warmth have more success in curbing binge drinking than either strictly authoritarian or overly indulgent parents.

Establish a code word. Before your kids go out, agree on a phrase they can say if they are in an uncomfortable situation and need to give you a signal to come get them right away, no questions asked.

Mr. Cochran says if you tell your kids just one thing, make it this:

"If someone has been drinking Jungle Juice or doing shots in a short amount of time, their blood alcohol level can continue to rise dangerously after they appear to fall asleep. This could have fatal consequences," he said.

"Tell your kids: If you can't wake someone up, call 911. The worst that can happen is you'll be embarrassed or your parents will get angry," he added. "But the alternative is far worse. We all know kids make mistakes. Unfortunately, some mistakes can't be fixed."

About Cochran, Cochran & Chhabra
Cochran, Cochran and Chhabra is a Maryland law firm providing clients in Annapolis, Baltimore and throughout Maryland with representation by skilled attorneys in state, federal and appellate courts. Our lawyers provide legal advice and representation in DUI, criminal defense, personal injury and auto accident cases. For more information please visit

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