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In 2001 I swallowed 200 pills because I wanted to leave this world. I was convinced that I was going to die an alcoholic and drug addict. 6 hours later I opened up my eyes. I was not dead. I knew right then that God had something he needed me to do. Something very important. This month I will celebrate 12 years of sobriety. Staying clean and sober takes a lot of hard work but it's worth every second.


This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.

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Comments

1. Gene
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2. Leah
as a teen I say we should lower it to 18, the main reasons teens drink is A. people r tellin them they can't B. some parents are so bad, they drive their kids to drinking, so is it really the kids an beer at fault here? I don't think so.
3. Decoder - Breaking Down Teen Culture, Substance Ab
[...] summer I blogged about how the presidents of more than 100 colleges and universities asked lawmakers to consider lowering the l.... Then this month, comedian Stephen Colbert of Comedy Centrals satirical news show, Colbert [...]
4. Newbie
these day younge aldults are very inrespnsible! i say no to lowering the drinking age! the age should be higher than 21!!
5. Ucmchris
Trust me, people who are 18 are already drinking. It doesnt matter if they do it in the bars or at a kegger. They are already doing it just as easy. When I was 18 I drank everytime I wanted to, and nothing stopped me.
6. Cassie C.
I know this post was posted quite a while ago, but I would like to give my input. I'm an 18-year old student right now. I don't have a problem with the drinking age being 21, but for one of my classes, I've already had to answer this question. My personal take is that the legal drinking age shouldn't necessarily be an age, it should be a time. I believe that once a student graduates from high school, then they should be able to legally drink. Most students are 18 by the time they graduate. If a student doesn't graduate from high school, then I believe that they should have to wait until they're 21 years old. This motivates students to go to school and graduate. It also would cause the problem of 18-year old students getting drunk at lunch and going back to school. By graduating from high school, it also shows that you have a sense of maturity and responsibility. Well, that's my take on it.
7. Cassie C.
I also don't think it's fair that younger people (even if they are 18) think that since they're a legal adult, it means they're mature and responsible. It's also not fair that older people suddenly assume that all younger people have no sense of responsibility. I've heard from a lot of people that I'm very mature AND responsible for my age. It really bugs me when people stereotype and it goes either way.
8. Kat
People who drink are 13 times as likely to commit suicide. Teenagers have the highest rate of suicides. 18 year olds are still teens. And most 18 year olds are in high school. I know a fourteen year old drug dealer. Trust me, seniors in high school are dumb enough to give beer to younger students. Do the math.
9. Kathy
That is we would need! Allow 18 year olds to start drinking legally! Are you kidding me???? I don't think most people have a clue to how immature most young adults are!!! I have seen it with my own eyes - PLEASE LEAVE THE LEGAL DRINKING AGE AT 21 - or we are ALL gonna have a real mess on our hands not to mention so many needless lives being taken away due to drinking and driving!
10. Troubled Teen Program In Arizona
i think it doesn't matter whether you are 18 or 21, what matters most is that you are responsible enough to take care of your mess!
11. Irene
Just read some of the comments on lowering the age for drinking. I lost my only brother from alcoholism. His daughter was very young at the time. His daughter became an orphan as both mom and dad passed away. Our family stayed at the hospital until he passed, and even tho he was very ill, he still died drunk. I tell the youth about his death, how traumatic it was to sit and watch him die. DO NOT LOWER THE DRINKING AGE. In our culture the family remains with the person until their spirit leaves their body. I never want to see anything like that again.
12. Cathy Bowles
50% of people who begin drinking under age 15 become addicted; 25.5% who begin drinking at age 17 become addicted; less than 10% who begin drinking at age 21 or 22 deal with addiction...the laws are based on the physiology of the human body...simply put, young bodies cannot metabolize alcohol well; are vulnerable to addiction and the pre-frontal cortex part of the brian which is responsible for judgment, logic, reason and decision-making and does NOT reach full maturity until mid-to late 20's risks 'suspended' maturation when chemical is introduced during the formative years.
13. Rob
I have 5 children, from age 13 to 22. I support lowering the drinking age for several of the reasons already mentioned, but also because it would allow both parents and universities to establish environments where safeguards could be established. Parents could provide safer environments for parties, rather than having their kids driving to some remote location. In my community, parents risk jail due to a "social host ordinance" if underage drinking is occurring in their home. Good debate, keep it open, and realize both sides have our childrens' safety in mind.
14. Brenda
Knowledge is power; and ignorance is no excuse; learn what the risks and dangers of alcohol use and abuse are to teens. Would you give a child, whose brain is developing alcohol? Of course not. Then WHY would you give the ok for anyone under 21 the green light to drink? The most important part of their brain, the prefrontal cortex, is still in the development stage! I challenge you to check it out!!!
15. Colleen
I think it is totally irresponsible of the college presidents to turn back time. I am shocked by their lack of disregard for the proven research that supports prevention of underage drinking. They even made comments which were in a tone of "shaming" parents...how manipulative! I wonder if they are getting any financial backing from the alcohol industry. We have got to get out of the dark ages and up to speed. Alcohol is a drug and any drug will impair developing brain up to the age of 25. Please review the research and be informed!! What's the problem with teaching our children how to have fun without drugs? Prevention has saved lives and created less pain and suffering. And what does ingesting a drug ((alcohol - that effects decision making) have to do with something that is absolutely repectful & MAKING A VALUED DECISION like voting and fighting a war for your country???? Nothing. Keep it at 21 years of age period.
16. Julie
I have not researched both arguments. However, my personal opinion is that if they are old enough to risk their lives in the military, then we should wonder why the law prohibits them from drinking. I feel the legal age to drink and join the military should be 21. Then we know they have made a well thought out mature decision. I also agree our country has many more important issues to tackle then lowering the drinking age!!!!!!!!!
17. Wilma
I have a son who is a college freshman. I can't believe that with all of the money we pay, the administration of colleges want to lower the drinking age. Why don't they focus on lowering the cost of college instead?! Also, as stated above by Amy, where are the campus police? That would be a much more worthy cause. Kudos Jeannette, I agree that kids just aren't mature enough to handle the effects of drinking before the age of 21.
18. Jeffry R. Johnston
Lower it to age 19.
19. Amy
I totally agree with those intelligent individuals that cited brain development as the major reason to keep drinking age at 21. The reason it was switched from 18 in the first place was that the brain does not fully develop until after the age of 21. How can this evidence be disputed? Keep the age at 21 and parents and adults who provide alcohol should be the ones we get down on. Colleges are rampant with teenage drinking. Does that make it right? As parents and health care professions such as myself we should be putting pressure on colleges to enforce this, not give colleges a way out.
20. Montenegro
I don't believe that lowering the drinking age will help in fact I think this action would increase the death rate. If some college students are not mature enough to make sound judgement in limiting their drinking or responsible to gage their drinking, I think a younger age drinker would be even less likely to be able to take on this type of responsibility. This is a problem with many adults and leaving this type of judgement to younger populations is even a worse judgement call on our officials in politics and leaders in our schools. In fact I believe the laws need to become more tough and college leadership more stringent in penalties and consequences. We as parents and leaders need to take on the responsibilities in teaching and guiding our young populations in being accountable and responsbile in making bad decisions by imposing stiff consequences when poor judgement is made. If anything I think the age limit should be increased. 08/21/2008
21. Linda
Has anyone considered that there are many 18-year-olds who are still attending high school? Lowering the drinking age to accommodate college campuses will affect many more people than intended. Also, not everyone attends college [or graduates high school for that matter], so why lower the age to fulfill the entitled "needs" of one population? I agree wtih Linda Hardgrave's response: knowledge of adolescent brain development will show you why there is good EVIDENCE-BASED research that makes the case for keeping the age at 21 [if not higher!]
22. Linda Hardgrave
The colleges are wanting to cop-out of their responsibilities by lowering the drinking age. They and everyone else who thinks the age should be lowered needs to study the adolescent brain development and the effects of alcohol. Give our youth a chance to grow up fully developed including their brain. As far as voting and going into the military, let them vote it you want. As far as the military - raise that age unless a parent signs. There is no draft anymore so everyone that enters the military does it voluntarily. That is no fair comparison. Our youth are growing up too fast as it is and the parents need to be parents and be good examples and help support the wrongness of illegal behaviors.
23. Cindy Buteau
18 or 21 , does not matter! It is our 'job'' as a parent to be a good role model, and be supportive. Alcohol is all around us, weddings, graduations, college , concerts ,etc. I stress to my sons to stay healthy and safe, it is all about you and no one else!
24. Howard J. Wooldridge
Disrespect for the law is at an all time high and the 21 y/o drinking is a big part of the reason. As a police officer, I enforced 21 but in my gut I knew it was overall a bad policy. Like the 55 MPH speed law I enforced, the 21 age for drinking is/was nearly universally ignored, as people nearly dared cops to make a tiny, meaningless dent in the issue. I would like to see some PHD sociologists weigh-in on how much damage is done to the fabric of society, when criminal laws are ignored by tens of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens.
25. Wendy
With this push coming from college presidents, it leads me to believe that they are passing the buck of responsibility to the students and families. They will no longer have any issues that arise from underage drinking with their students, therefore they pass on the school's liability. With society as it is, we quietly encourage our youth that's it's ok to drink younger than 21, the legal drinking age. So what will this do to those even younger? The younger the legal age, the younger youth will be when they try it! And let's face it, there's more out there to encourage than to deter.
26. Paul Riehemann
Lower it to 18 or 19. If you were 20, would you believe you were old enough to drink? Most say 'yes' - so they drink. Why would we as a society be so butt-locked and controlling so as not to recognize this? For many "kids" we're stretching the rubber band a huge amount (making them wait until they can drink legally).....then we let go of this rubber band and wonder why we have huge problems. The road to responsible drinking is a process that needs to include parents and other adults - this will happen more effectively at 18 or 19. Vickie H. (above) is on the money.
27. Patrice
It's my opinion that people who "binge drink" already have a problem that should be addressed. It doesn't matter how old they are. I don't think most ADULTS have a healthy handle on "drinking responsibly". In general, most people do not drink for the simple reason that they like the taste; they like the effects. I guess what I'm trying to say it that people are going to drink, no matter what the legal age is. 18 or 21, underage drinkers are going to get alcohol somewhere. I was a drunk at age 15, never had a problem getting it, and didn't stop until I was 50. Amen.
28. Don
The mystery and forbidden fruit of alcohol is alluring. I believe that much of the binge drinking is driven by the fact that it is done "on the sly" due to its illegal nature for many of the participants. I'd rather see us teach respect and responsibility for alcohol use while children are at home with parental influence instead of their participation at college with little to no direction. How about 18 (matching the age of majority in most states) with 16 being acceptable under direct parental supervision?
29. Lee Lee Smith
I think the drinking age should be lowered back to 18. When I was coming up it was 18 and it seems there was much less binge drinking than now. Just like prohibition didn't work, raising the drinking age hasn't worked to stop underage drinking. If we continue as parents to work at educating our teens against drinking/drugging and driving, then that's more than half the battle. Ideally, kids would wait until their 21 or older and their brains have developed more, but it's not realistic to expect complete abstinence from alcohol unless the person is a recovering alcoholic. I have a 19 year old and 13 year old and only wish that it was legal for my older child. Statistics haven't borne out the proof that raising the age helped diminish alcoholism or underage drinking.
30. Ruth
I personally think 19 is a good age to "legalize" alcohol for this reason....when a teen "knows" that they can't drink,,,they tend to overdrink when an opportunity arises. 18 was the drinking age in TN back in the late "70's, and went to college in KY whereas 21 was the legal age...saw the difference in those who were from TN compared to KY...the ones from KY tended to drink more. My parents took the curiosity away by letting me sip on a beer or wine when I was 16 and 17..of course, I thought they tasted horrible. Parents need to inform their children about alcohol and practice what they preach.
31. Tonya
I agree with Vickie and JC... but I will add to it. I am in my 30's and have an 11 year old child. I believe the drinking age should be lowered to 18 for a couple reasons. First and foremost.... You can make the choice to go into the military and risk your life at 18.... you should be aloud to enjoy an alcoholic beverage. That holds a lot less responsibility than military. I believe lowering the age will also take away "the forbidden" and it's no longer glamorous... In my family we were always allowed to have a drink at home, not allowed to leave, and to this day none of us "binge drink." It was not "forbidden" in our home, therefore we were not out drinking and driving, or drinking and riding with someone who was drinking and driving. Education is the tool... It's up to all of us as parents to do so.
32. John
I agree with lowering the age of drinking. Perhaps a good idea to bring it to an age out of high school perhaps. But I also feel that we are giving people the responsibility to vote and go to war at the age of 18, why so then are they not allowed to drink. Are they responsible enough to decide the leader of a country but not have a beer? Are they responsible enough to die protecting the country, but not enough so to drink. I think the age limit has been wrong for a long time, and its definitely time for a change.
33. Sally
Previous comments refered to the lower drinking age in Europe. It is my understanding that the legal driving age in Europe is generally much older than in the US. I would support the change in drinking age only if the legal age for driving became much older. I believe the higher drinking age has saved the lives of many teens. We know that physically, the brains and the descision making processes in our young people do not develope fully until the mid-twenties. Some may argue for a 19 year old drinking age, how about a 22 or 23 year old drinking age? Then college campuses would not have to deal with a mixed population of legal drinkers and non drinkers.
34. Mary
I too tried to commit suicide while I was on drugs because I saw no way out and no future! But God did not let me die because he has a plan, a future for my life. This is true for you too! I am sure you have probably figured that out in your twelve years sober! But he has amazing things still in store for you! Thank you for sharing your story and never stop sharing! Because there may be someone reading that is on the verge of giving up but then they will read your story and know there is Hope!! Be Blessed!