The Secret Life of Teens: Clubbing

Sept. 13, 2006 — -- Along with nearly $10 billion in economic activity, New York night life also generates some high-profile problems.

The city's bars and clubs attract 65 million partyers every year -- some of them are too young and don't belong there.

"Underage drinking is a big, big problem, and it's been a big, big problem for time immemorial," said David Rabin, a club owner and member of the New York Nightlife Association.

According to a 2005 ABC News poll, many Americans agree.

In the poll, 75 percent of Americans saw underage drinking as a serious problem in their communities. One-third called it "very" serious.

The situation could get worse.

A new risk may ratchet up the danger in the age-old problem of kids, clubs and carousing.

Child psychologist Harold Koplewicz says a generation of children treated for attention deficit and other disorders has reached the age where it may mix medicine and alcohol.

"We have a whole group of students who have access to medication that when used properly, can be lifesaving," Koplewicz said. "But when used illicitly, can really be harmful."

When a Night Out Turns Deadly

Even without drugs, kids and partying can be a dangerous, sometimes deadly, combination.

The slaying of Jennifer Moore in New York this summer was a painful reminder.

Authorities say the suburban teenager was partying at a club called Guest House, even though she was only 18.

Guest House said she might have used a fake ID to get in. Its bartenders don't remember serving her.

Moore left the club and wound up in a New Jersey hotel, where authorities said she was raped and killed.

In the aftermath, her father warned other teenagers to pay attention.

"Just think for a second about the things that your parents have said to you, and the kind of things that I would have said to my daughter, and I would have wished that I could have said it better or they would have heard it better," Hugh Moore said.

On the Streets of New York

"Good Morning America" spent a recent Friday night hanging around New York nightclubs.

They were not always welcome. Some club goers objected to being filmed, grabbing the camera and cameramen.

There was a heavy police presence in the neighborhood where Jennifer Moore had her last drink.

Still, "GMA" saw unsettling scenes, none more eerily disturbing than a bouncer carrying a young woman down the street.

At one club, bouncers stopped two women, suspicious of their IDs.

"So they are on line right now, and they are a little bit upset. And they want their IDs back," one bouncer said.

The two women had Texas and Ohio driver's licenses that were strangely similar -- they had identical birthdays and street addresses, and similar names, Emily Huttenberg and Emily Hoffenberg.

When asked by a producer whether the license was her own legal ID, one girl said yes.

But the club's scanner revealed information encoded on the ID that showed it belonged not to Emily, but to someone named Stephen.

Although their licenses said the girls were 22 and 23, both girls told "GMA" they were 21.

The bouncers confiscated the licenses, and the girls wandered off into the night.

Parents Must Be Vigilant

Rabin said that while parents might not be able to prevent kids from clubbing, they could stay informed on what their teens and 30-somethings are doing.

"I think that it's unfortunate. It's normal to be 18 and want to do that," he said. "And I think that we need to be better, as I said, and I think parents maybe take a look at what their kids are doing and know where they are."

On that point, one expert says club owners and parents should agree.

Koplewicz asserted that parents should never forget they are the most influential factors in their kids' lives.

"Kids are thinking that their parents are providing some kind of supervision," he said. "And if we don't, then I think again, we're being the ones who are not doing our jobs."