Created: 03/03/2014 7:06 PM
By: Devin Neeley, KOB Eyewitness News 4
To some, that first drink is a right of passage.
“I believe that the norm needs to be changed. It is not ok to drink underage,” said Pamela Drake, director of San Juan County Partnership.
In San Juan County, there are too many teens having that first drink.
Drake said, “In the state of New Mexico we are number one for kids that start drinking before the age of 13.”
28% of high schoolers say they have had a drink in the past month.
“I believe that it’s probably higher,” said Sargent Baric Crum of the Farmington Police Department.
And that's why some are working to change these numbers.
“People need to be aware,’ said Drake, “that you don't have to have alcohol at every event. You don't have to provide alcohol to kids.”
They say in addition to negative effects on a young person's body, and legal implications for providing booze to teens-4th degree felony and carries a 1 1/2 year prison sentence or a $5,000 fine, according to Crum.
Underage drinking can set you up for a lifetime of problems.
“If you drink under the age of 15 you are five times more likely to be an alcoholic,” said Drake.
There is some positive out of this.
Drake said, “Most of our kids are making good decisions, they really are and we don't like to focus on the ones who aren't but do we care about the ones that aren't? Absolutely. Shout it be less than 28% who are drinking you bet it should be 0%.”