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Surveys will provide insight into teen drinking

Posted: May 27, 2012 - 12:04am  |  Updated: May 29, 2012 - 9:40am

We’ve had some lively discussions lately about underage drinking, particularly after big parties have been busted.

I was glad to hear that none of the many post-graduation parties got visits from Columbia County cops last weekend. At least, they didn’t get visits that resulted in kids getting citations for minor in possession of alcohol.

While that probably doesn’t mean there weren’t any such parties, at least it might indicate that those having them were more discrete about it. Typically when we see an underage drinking party busted, it’s because those dumb enough to chug away illegally generally don’t have the sense to keep quiet while they do so. The neighbors then complain not about the drinking, but about the loud music.

As they say, it’s all fun until the cops show up.

But just how much of this sort of thing goes on? That’s some of the point of a survey being conducted across the state, including locally by Columbia County Community Connections.

As noted in a story in today’s News-Times, the agency is looking for respondents in different age groups to take the survey on teen drinking.

The idea is a good one. The survey is anonymous, so no one has to worry about fibbing (or bragging, for that matter). The questions are geared toward the age of the person responding, so underage respondents are asked about any illegal drinking, while older, legal respondents are asked about their younger days.

The survey also asks about where the alcohol was obtained. That should be eye-opening for a lot of people, though other studies consistently show that a major source of alcohol for underage drinkers is right there in mom and dad’s refrigerator or liquor cabinet.

The survey will be available for a few weeks, and can be found at www.connectcolumbiacounty.org. I’m sure they’d appreciate your help.

FaceTime graduation

Candidate qualifying this week was a little awkward. I’m accustomed during that period, and throughout the election season, to being in frequent contact with the county’s elections director, Deborah Marshall.

But not this week. She’s busy working on recovering from brain surgery at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

Last weekend, however, Debbie was also attending her son’s graduation – at least in spirit.

Like me, her third and last child was graduating. Unlike her, I was able to attend the ceremony.

Fortunately, through the help of friends and coworkers and modern technology, Debbie was able to watch the entire Greenbrier High School commencement live on an iPad from her hospital room. Registration Coordinator Nancy Gay held the iPad while others at the James Brown Arena used another iPad to share the ceremony via FaceTime.

As a result, Debbie saw her son, Derenzo, cross the stage and receive his diploma.

But it didn’t end there. Jimbo Smith, with River City Video Productions, professionally videotapes all of the ceremonies for webcast and for sale to parents. Free of charge, he quickly turned out a DVD of Greenbrier’s ceremony for the family to have the very next day to watch at their leisure.

That way, Debbie not only was able to see Derenzo cross the stage, but to be with him to replay the event.

Miracles of modern technology and of human kindness often overwhelm me. Debbie needs plenty of both, along with a lot of prayer as she continues to fight and recover.

 

(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email barry.paschal@newstimes online.com, or call 706-863-6165, extension 106. Follow at twitter.com/
barrypaschal.)

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Comments (4)

Craig Spinks

Telling the truth,...

as Georgia State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge recently reminded us, is the first necessary step in solving problems.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

Riverman1

A survey about something that

A survey about something that has gone on for thousands of years? It's only recently law enforcement has made concentrated efforts to stop it.

Barry Paschal

Thousands of years?

I know what you're saying, but actually, this really only became an issue in the early 1980s when the drinking age changed to 21.

Riverman1

That's my point. Teens have

That's my point. Teens have been drinking for thousands of years and when the law changed it suddenly became a major problem. Use this in your survey.

The first time I got drunk was when I was 15 riding around with my cousins in the back of a pickup on the dirt road on the farm the night before my granddaddy, Mr. Clarence's, funeral. We were all pall bearers the next day and had to carry the heavy casket in the sand a long ways from the church. Cousin Gerald, right in front of my right rear position, actually tried to get us to stop and take a smoke break on the way to the grave. He said the middle pall bearer always lifted the most.

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