Underage drinking program rolls out in Jefferson county

In Alabama, a survey shows by age 15, half of all teenagers already have had at least one drink. By age 18, that number increases to more than 70 percent. All those students have violated the law. The legal drinking age is 21.

Tuesday, students at Jefferson county's McAdory High School will hear the facts about underage drinking from the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. The ABC Board recently rolled out a new statewide initiative targeting underage and binge drinking. The program, "Under Age, Under Arrest"{}is aimed at {}middle and high school students and well as college students. The program at McAdory will be the first presented by the ABC board in central Alabama.

During Tuesday morning's assembly, there will be presentations by the ABC board, Rep. Allen Farley, Senator Priscilla Dunn, a representative of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a drunk driving victim's family member, American Character Builders and law enforcement.

A new study shows 41 percent of 18-20 year olds in Alabama are binge drinkers. Ninety percent of alcohol consumed by those under age 21 is in the form of binge drinks. Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to drive impaired.

Nationwide, 5,000 young people die each year from car crashes, homicides, suicides, alcohol poisoning and other injuries attributable to underage drinking. Studies show underage drinking costs Alabamians more than one billion dollars each year. ABC Board Administrator Mac Gipson said, "The ABC Board wants students and parents to understand both the legal and social costs of such irresponsible drinking."

Students will be encouraged to sign a pledge saying they will not participate in underage drinking. The same pledge also can be signed online at