Talking to young children about alcohol and drugs


Most alcohol and drug prevention programs for kids start in middle school.  But the story we’re about to bring you shows the need to get the message about the dangers of drugs and alcohol to children at younger ages. 

For years the DARE program focused on teaching children the dangers of drugs and alcohol in the 5th grade.

But a Sioux Falls boy’s experience with alcohol is evidence that you may want to bring up the subject long before that.

Jaeden Bruguier was just 10-years-old this summer when the 60-pound boy gave into peer pressure to chug booze.

“They were like you should chug it and I was like, I don’t feel like it. And they were like, you should do it. So I did it,” Jaeden Bruguier said.

A few hours later, Jaeden ended up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning. Darcy Jensen with Prairie View Prevention says unlike adults, kids don’t “sip” on alcoholic drinks when they experiment with them.

“If I’m 10- years-old or 9-years-old and something tastes relatively good, or I’m curious what is this taste? They may take quite a bit in and then began to realize something is wrong. By that time they may be very close to that alcohol poisoning state,” Darcy Jensen said.

Jaeden’s blood alcohol was .214 in the hospital, nearly three times the legal limit for an adult to drive.

“They don’t understand what alcohol does. It’s a depressant, so it slows down our respirations. It slows down our heart rate. It can actually kill you because of that,” Jensen said.

Jensen says it’s up to parents to start a dialog about the dangers of alcohol and drugs, sooner than they may think.

“It’s fine to start at 2nd grade. We know that when we look at some of the Twisted Tea and iced tea that are both bottled–well Twisted Tea has the alcohol in it. Do kids know that? Are having kids understand, no matter whose offering it to you, if it’s alcohol, if it’s a drug, we don’t take it. It’s a danger. It can be harmful or deadly,” Jensen said.

Jensen also points out that the earlier a child starts experimenting with drugs and alcohol the more likely they are to have addiction issues because their brains are still developing and it changes brain chemistry. That’s one of the things Jaeden’s mom is most worried about. But she says the medical community isn’t willing to provide her son with the help she believes he needs.

“One way or another, he should have had help, whether it be mental or substance abuse help. There was no help for him!” Jaeden’s mother Cassandra Bruguier said.

Coming up in our KELOLAND News Investigation Thursday night, we look at Jaeden’s hospital records and show you what happened and how he was denied further treatment.

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