Underage drinking increases on Thanksgiving Eve or "Blackout Wednesday"

By Gianna Caserta - Reporter

HOUSTON - It's Thanksgiving Eve, but in many parts of the country, it's also referred to as "Blackout Wednesday," a time when people flock to the bars to kick off the holiday season.

"Drinking, going crazy, having fun, being with friends," said 18-year-old Michael Bayley.

Believe it or not, Thanksgiving Eve beats out New Year's Eve, the Fourth of July and St. Patrick's Day for the biggest drinking night of the year.

"People are surprised that Thanksgiving is actually the deadliest drinking holiday of the year according to NHTSA statistics," said Warren Diepraam of the Montgomery County DA's Office.

The heavy drinking has made Thanksgiving Eve one of particularly high-risk for young people.

"Usually my parents won't let me touch alcohol but when it is a holiday, they don't really care that much," said 17-year-old Robert Cheru.

"You have so many college kids, and high school kids that are off, and parents think it is okay to give their kids alcohol, it is not," said Diepraam.

Law enforcement will be out in full force keeping their eye on drunk drivers.

"There will probably be an extra 100 police officers on the streets, specifically looking for drunk drivers in all of our counties, we are going to have prosecutors and judges available to take blood from people who refuse," said Diepraam.

That means if a suspected drunk driver refuses a breathalyzer test, the officer will get a search warrant from a judge for a blood draw.

Officials say it is a good idea to take extra precautions while on the road this holiday season because even though you may not be drinking, you don't know who out there has had too many.

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