WSVN -- Seventeen-year-old Chris knows all about the pressures of high school. There was a time when she used alcohol to cope.
Chris: "I thought drinking was going to make me feel better. It was one of those days that there were so many things going on, like I thought it would take me away from that and it doesn't."
Drinking didn't make her happy, neither did marijuana, then she tried something else, an anti-drug group called Drug Free Youth In Town or DFYIT.
Chris: "It's tough to ask for help, it really is."
Now Chris and her friends make it a habit to just say no.
Chris: "We ask that kids just come and sit and listen, and they hear you guys, and they hear what you guys have to offer."
DFYIT has 7,000 members in Miami-Dade and Broward County public schools. At John Ferguson High in Southwest Miami, kids are learning about living healthy and drug free, and more importantly how to stand up to peer pressure.
Reneal: "I do feel pressure because they usually, you know, kids, I guess, my friends sometimes do it, so they always question me, why don't you do it."
DFYIT leaders say parents should know peer pressure is always on, and a lot of kids are drinking.
In a recent survey, 38 percent of all high school students admitted they drank alcohol within the last month. Almost half admitted to binge drinking, something DFYIT wants to stop.
Adrian Lopez: "The human brain doesn't stop developing until the age of 25, so if they're partying and drinking in excess, that could cause brain damage, it could delay the developmental process."
But, when kids get back to school, the partying begins.
Nurika: "I see a lot of people passing you around weed, and they share the same thing. They pop oxycodone and stuff like that."
Which means parents should always be on the lookout for trouble.
If your child has a change in friends, eating and sleeping habits, or if he becomes distant, there could be a problem, and watch grades. Kids with a D average are five times more likely to experiment, and above all, communicate with your kids.
Chris: "There were days that my mom would notice that my eyes were bloodshot red, 'Were you drinking?' 'No Mom. No, no, no.' But, it's hard to tell a parent."
But Chris did eventually tell her parents, and now she's a DFYIT success story who someday hopes to become a medic in the Airforce.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Dr. Valerie Goodewww.drvaleriegoode.com