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Spring Break: What Parents Need to Know

Dangerous Revelry

ABC's nightly TV news broadcast their annual spring break expose. At mid-afternoon teenagers were fall-down drunk and incoherent. Scantily clad girls enthusiastically lifted their tops and exposed their breasts to car after car packed with cheering, leering boys. A condom maker's brilliantly colored banners, emblazoned with "TROJANS", hung from the windows of hotels' catering to these kids. Just another spring break afternoon in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Spring break. College students make their annual fun in the sun, booze and sex pilgrimage in March. High school students, in ever-increasing numbers, take their place in April. It's big business for the tour companies that book these debauched vacations and for the cities that host them. Texas' South Padre Island, California's Palm Springs, Florida's Panama City Beach, Cancun, Acapulco, and the Bahamas are spring break's current crop of hot spots.

Spring break student revelers average 18 drinks per day for boys, 10 for girls. Many tour companies sell all-you-can-drink vacation packages to teenagers, never questioning their underage drinking status. Tour agencies proclaim their innocence when accused of promoting underage drinking or sex but check out their spring break web sites and brochures -- they reek of alcohol and sex. They know full well what they're selling. Far too often, spring breakers' parents are clueless.

Cancun has become a top spring break destination, attracting 100,000 U.S. college and high-school students. Its popularity began to soar several years ago when MTV began filming its annual spring break specials there.

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