Teen pleads for safe drinking

EMILY Stratton is only 16 but has already seen too many of her friends' lives ruined by alcohol.

Emily first tried drinking at home when she was 14, but has wised up since then and is now mature beyond her years. She said as a teenager she saw how bad the underage drinking problem was.

'I think it's a horrible problem,' Emily said.

'I see so many bright kids, kids I started primary school with, passed out, fighting with friends, making out with different guys.'

Emily said the usual scenario for a Friday night party was the older students ? 16 to 17-year-olds ? having a party at one of their parents' homes.

'At 7pm the older kids arrive ... then you get gate crashers, the 14 to 15-year-olds arrive.

'With the younger 13, 14, 15 they get out of control. The girls strip and be stupid.

'Trouble breaks out and there's fights ? I saw one kid's head split open ? and then the party has to be closed down.'

The young girls especially give Emily cause to worry.

And as the eldest of five, Emily is concerned about her sister approaching an age where she will be exposed to alcohol.

Emily said that at a party there was invariably at least twice as many boys as girls and they were usually older than the girls.

'They (girls) get out of control going from boy to boy. Girls I hang around with in year 6 and 7, nice girls, are now into drugs or have babies.

'One girl I knew got drunk, had a baby at 17 and doesn't know who the father is.'' Emily said parents needed to take more care.

It's something her mother, Jackie Dale, agreed with.

Jackie said she used to work as a bar attendant and saw how rife underage drinking was in licensed premises.

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