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Officials worry after teen girl hospitalized after group party

Date Posted: 2007-08-16

A high school girl, one of a dozen students partying on a Naha City school ground, became so drunk she had to be taken to a hospital by her friends.

The increase in teen drinking has both school officials and police worried. We have been giving advice and education, strong words about drinking and driving and going out at night,_ says a Naha City high school principal, and they know its forbidden but they break the rules anyway.

A police investigation shows the students began drinking Sunday night about 10 p.m., and on into early Monday, consuming awamori sake, a dozen 3.6liter cans of beer, and a few wine coolers purchased from a supermarket. An observer called police when he saw the kids buying the liquor. Police arrived at the school, and all fled except the drunk girl.

Japanese law prohibits people under 20 from purchasing and consuming alcoholic beverages, but police say there are violations during the long summer vacation. Authorities are focusing on the supermarket, investigating how and why the kids were able to make the purchase.

The Prefecture Board of Education has now sent a letter to all junior and senior high schools, encouraging leaders to watch carefully what their students are doing, even during the vacation. It urges schools to be more proactive in protecting youngsters from drinking, smoking and being out late at night, but acknowledges the youth often will not listen.

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