Spring means the approach of high-school prom time, as well as more opportunities to be outdoors and spend time in social gatherings. It also can be a risky time of year for young adults, as pediatrician Doctor Ken Cheyne has seen. In the spring of the year people will be outside more, there’ll be parties, alcohol will be available, and sometimes they’ll alcohol and then drive. Doctor Cheyne specializes in adolescent medicine. He says young people not experienced in that kind of socializing may use alcohol and then make decisions they wouldn’t otherwise. They’ll engage in high-risk sexual behaviors they hadn’t meant to, they’ll swim and dive in water that’s too shallow, they’ll try “hood-surfing” on cars or drag-racing, as the alcohol’s impaired the judgment of the teens. Doctor Cheyne says a good number of the bad injuries and permanent disabilities that happen to young people are a result of that immature judgement ability — and too often, drinking. Even smart kids haven’t developed the decision-making skills and experience to keep themselves out of trouble. He notes young adults have the feeling that they’re invulnerable, and different from everyone else — even if everyone else can’t drink a beer or two and drive, they probably can. If you look at the reasons young adults die or have significant longterm illness, often it’s related to accidents — many of them incidents in which alcohol or other drugs are involved. The doctor says when parents don’t oversee their young teens or catch them using alcohol or drugs and don’t punish them, it sends the message that it’s OK.
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