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Drinking: Straight Up

Non-drinker: Brianna Sheets, female, 17, Mt. Carmel High School

What are your reasons for not drinking? "Honestly, I don't really have time to go out and party. Being involved with school, tennis, and community service, my plate is pretty full as is. My parents are very against drinking. I guess that added to my decision...." Do your friends drink? "Yes, some of my friends drink, but I don't judge them for it. The night after prom, I went to a party where people were drinking. I was so tired from taking the SATs that day and prom... I just don't think it is cool to drink for the hell of it, so I just left."

Describe any encounters you've had with drunk people. "The only real encounters I have had with drunken people are when I get phone calls from [friends] while they are drunk."

Do you go to parties or social places where people drink? "My closest friends don't drink and so, therefore, our Friday nights don't consist of finding the coolest party to go to."

What are your thoughts about drinking? "I don't think it is a problem if it is done rationally and not in excess."

Did you learn about the effects of drinking in school? "I learned about the effects in ninth-grade health class, but that never really affected me. I was brought up in an alcohol-free house, so from an early age I was taught to not drink."

Have you ever been tempted to drink?

"I never really have been tempted to drink. The biggest turn-off that I have to drinking is that lame people in high school do it to make themselves feel good and think they are cool. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who do things just to look cool. I do not want to be associated with people like that!"

Drinker: Jessilee (pseudonym), female, 17, Mt. Carmel High School

Do your friends drink? "Yes, but we aren't drunks that sit on the side of the street with brown paper bags. We know our limits. Peer pressure is involved for some people, but not me." At what age did you start drinking? "I started drinking at, I think, 12. I started on my own."

Describe any incidents you have had while drunk. "I went to a Halloween party, and my friend decided we should leave when I knocked over two people while dancing. This was a funny experience. Another time I blacked out and said really dumb things while under the influence. I woke up with a wicked hangover and threw up every 30 minutes."

What is your favorite drink? "Cosmos."

Where do you usually drink? "I usually drink at college parties."

How often do you drink? "Not that often, anymore -- usually when I'm stressed."

Do your parents know that you drink? "No, they do not."

What are your thoughts about drinking? "When I was about 13, I thought it was really cool and whatnot, but it's not as fabulous as people make it out to be. But if you're old enough to serve your country, then you are definitely old enough to be served a drink."

What's the most alcohol you've consumed in one night? "I had half a bottle of vodka, straight up."

Do you have family members who drink regularly? "No."

Did you learn about the effects of drinking in school? "Yes. It has affected me somewhat."

How do you get alcohol? "I get alcohol through my friends."

Drinker: Haiduy Giang, male, 20, Miramar College

Do your friends drink? "Yes, my friends drink sometimes.... Peer pressure sometimes has an effect on me, but I usually drink when my friends drink." At what age did you start drinking? "I started drinking at the age of 17. My friend asked me if I wanted to go to a friend's apartment to chill and drink."

Describe any incidents you have had while drunk. "I've had a couple hangovers in the past. When I first started drinking, I did not know my own limit, so I just drank until I was drunk and threw up."

What kind of alcohol is your favorite? "I don't have a favorite. I don't like alcohol. I just drink it for the buzz. If I was to have a favorite, I would probably pick Smirnoff Ice because it tastes good."

Where do you usually drink? "I usually drink at parties and mainly friends' houses."

How often do you drink? "I only drink when I get asked. Sometimes I want to drink, so I ask people if they want to drink with me. I drink whenever."

Do your parents know that you drink? "No, they do not."

What are your thoughts about drinking? "It feels good when you're buzzed."

What's the most alcohol you've consumed in one night? "I would not know, but enough to give me a hangover."

Do you have family members who drink regularly? "No.... My dad drinks, like, once a week."

Did you learn about the effects of drinking in school? "No, I did not learn. I just knew that drinking was bad; it didn't affect me at all."

How do you get alcohol? "I get alcohol through my friends."

Non-drinker: Dean Lagaspi, 16, male, Mt. Carmel High School

What are your reasons for not drinking? "I don't drink simply because I can have fun in so many other ways. I'm also aware of the consequences that drinking can lead to. I decided to always stay sober after seeing the character impairment it caused in my family and friends." Do your friends drink? "A lot of my friends drink, and some know that they have a problem -- particularly, a dependency or an addiction. I've been offered drinks numerous times. I casually decline with a calm attitude. Almost all of the time, scenes are avoided."

Describe any encounters you've had with drunk people. "A lot of times, a certain friend of mine gets so intoxicated that she either passes out or makes a fool out of herself. It's not pretty, especially when the situations she gets herself into quickly change from humorous to obnoxiously vulgar."

Do you go to parties or social places where people drink? "I occasionally attend parties where there's beer. I have yet to earn a license."

What are your thoughts about drinking? "I understand that it offers a state of mindless bliss, but why drink when you know how harmful it is?"

Did you learn about the effects of drinking in school? "It seems as if every year, I have a class that focuses on drugs, alcohol, sex, et cetera. They're definitely helpful, and I take everything I learn to consideration."

Do you have family members who drink regularly? "I know that my father [drinks], but I rarely see him. My family only drinks socially at parties and gatherings."

Have you ever been tempted to drink? "Definitely. After a successful home-team football game during my sophomore year of high school, everyone was celebrating at a beer-washed party. I didn't want to refuse because, well, I guess the celebration was the result of unity and a desire to enjoy each other's company while still basking in the victorious limelight. Even though I did not have a drink, I certainly did not want to appear haughty in any way by declining." -- Vivian Pham, Mt. Carmel H.S.

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Non-drinker: Brianna Sheets, female, 17, Mt. Carmel High School

What are your reasons for not drinking? "Honestly, I don't really have time to go out and party. Being involved with school, tennis, and community service, my plate is pretty full as is. My parents are very against drinking. I guess that added to my decision...." Do your friends drink? "Yes, some of my friends drink, but I don't judge them for it. The night after prom, I went to a party where people were drinking. I was so tired from taking the SATs that day and prom... I just don't think it is cool to drink for the hell of it, so I just left."

Describe any encounters you've had with drunk people. "The only real encounters I have had with drunken people are when I get phone calls from [friends] while they are drunk."

Do you go to parties or social places where people drink? "My closest friends don't drink and so, therefore, our Friday nights don't consist of finding the coolest party to go to."

What are your thoughts about drinking? "I don't think it is a problem if it is done rationally and not in excess."

Did you learn about the effects of drinking in school? "I learned about the effects in ninth-grade health class, but that never really affected me. I was brought up in an alcohol-free house, so from an early age I was taught to not drink."

Have you ever been tempted to drink?

"I never really have been tempted to drink. The biggest turn-off that I have to drinking is that lame people in high school do it to make themselves feel good and think they are cool. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who do things just to look cool. I do not want to be associated with people like that!"

Drinker: Jessilee (pseudonym), female, 17, Mt. Carmel High School

Do your friends drink? "Yes, but we aren't drunks that sit on the side of the street with brown paper bags. We know our limits. Peer pressure is involved for some people, but not me." At what age did you start drinking? "I started drinking at, I think, 12. I started on my own."

Describe any incidents you have had while drunk. "I went to a Halloween party, and my friend decided we should leave when I knocked over two people while dancing. This was a funny experience. Another time I blacked out and said really dumb things while under the influence. I woke up with a wicked hangover and threw up every 30 minutes."

What is your favorite drink? "Cosmos."

Where do you usually drink? "I usually drink at college parties."

How often do you drink? "Not that often, anymore -- usually when I'm stressed."

Do your parents know that you drink? "No, they do not."

What are your thoughts about drinking? "When I was about 13, I thought it was really cool and whatnot, but it's not as fabulous as people make it out to be. But if you're old enough to serve your country, then you are definitely old enough to be served a drink."

What's the most alcohol you've consumed in one night? "I had half a bottle of vodka, straight up."

Do you have family members who drink regularly? "No."

Did you learn about the effects of drinking in school? "Yes. It has affected me somewhat."

How do you get alcohol? "I get alcohol through my friends."

Drinker: Haiduy Giang, male, 20, Miramar College

Do your friends drink? "Yes, my friends drink sometimes.... Peer pressure sometimes has an effect on me, but I usually drink when my friends drink." At what age did you start drinking? "I started drinking at the age of 17. My friend asked me if I wanted to go to a friend's apartment to chill and drink."

Describe any incidents you have had while drunk. "I've had a couple hangovers in the past. When I first started drinking, I did not know my own limit, so I just drank until I was drunk and threw up."

What kind of alcohol is your favorite? "I don't have a favorite. I don't like alcohol. I just drink it for the buzz. If I was to have a favorite, I would probably pick Smirnoff Ice because it tastes good."

Where do you usually drink? "I usually drink at parties and mainly friends' houses."

How often do you drink? "I only drink when I get asked. Sometimes I want to drink, so I ask people if they want to drink with me. I drink whenever."

Do your parents know that you drink? "No, they do not."

What are your thoughts about drinking? "It feels good when you're buzzed."

What's the most alcohol you've consumed in one night? "I would not know, but enough to give me a hangover."

Do you have family members who drink regularly? "No.... My dad drinks, like, once a week."

Did you learn about the effects of drinking in school? "No, I did not learn. I just knew that drinking was bad; it didn't affect me at all."

How do you get alcohol? "I get alcohol through my friends."

Non-drinker: Dean Lagaspi, 16, male, Mt. Carmel High School

What are your reasons for not drinking? "I don't drink simply because I can have fun in so many other ways. I'm also aware of the consequences that drinking can lead to. I decided to always stay sober after seeing the character impairment it caused in my family and friends." Do your friends drink? "A lot of my friends drink, and some know that they have a problem -- particularly, a dependency or an addiction. I've been offered drinks numerous times. I casually decline with a calm attitude. Almost all of the time, scenes are avoided."

Describe any encounters you've had with drunk people. "A lot of times, a certain friend of mine gets so intoxicated that she either passes out or makes a fool out of herself. It's not pretty, especially when the situations she gets herself into quickly change from humorous to obnoxiously vulgar."

Do you go to parties or social places where people drink? "I occasionally attend parties where there's beer. I have yet to earn a license."

What are your thoughts about drinking? "I understand that it offers a state of mindless bliss, but why drink when you know how harmful it is?"

Did you learn about the effects of drinking in school? "It seems as if every year, I have a class that focuses on drugs, alcohol, sex, et cetera. They're definitely helpful, and I take everything I learn to consideration."

Do you have family members who drink regularly? "I know that my father [drinks], but I rarely see him. My family only drinks socially at parties and gatherings."

Have you ever been tempted to drink? "Definitely. After a successful home-team football game during my sophomore year of high school, everyone was celebrating at a beer-washed party. I didn't want to refuse because, well, I guess the celebration was the result of unity and a desire to enjoy each other's company while still basking in the victorious limelight. Even though I did not have a drink, I certainly did not want to appear haughty in any way by declining." -- Vivian Pham, Mt. Carmel H.S.

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