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Can Ads Really Help to Curb Teen DUI?

March 20, 1994

I am an 18-year-old senior at Chatsworth High School, and I am writing concerning the article "Under the Influence?" about teen-agers and alcohol (Feb. 22).

Honestly, I don't think any adult can really know how teen-agers deal with alcohol and what should be done about it. I know what goes on. I see it every weekend.

Getting alcohol for teen-agers is like taking candy from a baby. There are a few liquor stores that accept fake IDs from teen-agers. The IDs I'm speaking of aren't the "high-tech" ones that look real, but ones that can be purchased by anybody for $10 at any check-cashing establishment.

The common beverage among teen-agers is beer in a 40-ounce bottle or can--inexpensive, easy to hold and pretty much does the job of "relaxing" you. The biggest problem of the night is finding a place to drink the alcohol.

Drinking and driving doesn't even enter the minds of the kids as a bad thing. If you drive and you're drunk, you're not going to just leave your car. I know teen-agers who get very drunk every weekend and always get home safely. Although they hear all the stories of drinking and driving, I guess until it happens to someone they know, they'll keep doing it.

My point is, it's a common practice of high school kids to drink. It's in the hormones at this age to defy the law. All the advertisements in the world showing how bad it is to drink and drive won't change anything. It's a way of life on the weekends.

NAME WITHHELD

Northridge

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This is in response to the article about proposed warnings for beer ads. The beer companies use celebrities, models, motor vehicles and certain water activities that appeal to people under 21. I'm 17 and these commercials certainly appeal to me, but isn't that the point of advertising? It's naive to pretend beer companies don't realize the market of underage drinkers. It may not be morally correct to target consumers who are not legally able to buy their product, but the beer company is a business. Like any business they're out to make money. I have consumed alcohol on special occasions such as New Year's. I was not compelled to drink because of any beer commercials, but because of peer pressure and it was my responsibility to not drive.

Obviously, kids my age shouldn't drink, but the reality is that alcohol is easy to purchase and is consumed in high quantities by teen-agers. Beer companies can't be accountable for the attitudes of teen-agers toward alcohol or how their product is used.

MINH LE

Canoga Park

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