The Suburban Maryland Alcoholism Council, which has been studying alcoholism among Montgomery County youths, has released a report that scores the county for gearing its rehabilitation programs toward drug users when "the preferred drug among teenagers is alcohol."
The study, released to the county council this week, says that Montgomery, with 45,122 problem drinkers, has one of the highest alcoholism rates in the nation. Of that number, 6,583 are under 20.
Prince George's County also has a high rate of alcoholism, where 7,853 of the county's 49,385 known problem drinkers, are teenagers.
The study, which concentrated on Montgomery, quotes a school system survey which shows that regular use of alcohol among the county's junior high school students nearly doubled from 14.6 per cent in 1969 to 27.9 per cent in 1972. In the high schools, alcohol use jumped from 43.8 per cent to 60.6 per cent in the same period.
The rise in juvenile alcoholism reflects trends in advertising, according to Howard Scamen, spokesman for the alcoholism council, which make it seem "mature, sexy and just plan in to drink."
Montgomery County's chief juvenile judge, Douglas Moore Jr., said that the number of juveniles who commit crimes while under the influence of drugs "seems to have levered off" while crimes committeed by juveniles under the influence of alcohol keeps increasing.
Still, according to Scamen's report, the county has allocated $1.6 million, for drug programs in the current fiscal year, but has allotted only $620,000 for alcoholism programs. There are currently no county alcoholism programs geared toward youth.
Bob Jardin, who handles youth programs for the county health department, said the existing rehabilitation programs aim at helping "the total youth" and take into consideration the youth's family, peer, financial, school and work problems.