ETX organization warns about underage drinking

ETX organization warns about underage drinking

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol is the most widely abused substance among young people.

The Piney Woods Substance Abuse Coalition is concerned about the number of minors consuming alcohol.
"Kids in this area are regularly at a higher rate than the rest of the state," said Rebecca Smith the coalition coordinator for Piney Woods.
According to the coalition's resource center studies, 32 percent of 7th through 12th graders in East Texas admit to drinking alcohol.

The Piney Woods Substance Abuse Coalition partners up with the Coalition For Drug-Free Youth to collect the data on these studies.

Recently, they discovered that 51 percent of high school seniors in East Texas say they drink alcohol.
"That 51 percent has increased since last year," said Whitney Pierce with Coalition For Drug-Free Youth.  "That tells us as a coalition that we need to focus on the underage drinking education."
Both coalitions believe that there is lack of information in the community on the effects of drinking at a young age.
"So the teens who drink are more likely to have learning problems and five times more likely to drop out of high school if they abuse alcohol more regularly," said Smith.

In order to get the message across all throughout East Texas you'll be seeing stickers made by the coalition.

One sticker reminds individuals that providing alcohol to minors is illegal and that there is a $4,000 fine and up to one year in jail.

The second design reminds parents to talk about underage drinking.

 "That can be an effective measure just bringing up the conversation," said Pierce. "It's not about 'I am not going pound you with the information,' but let's just talk."
The women hope that by having these reminders at stores and restaurants the community will do its part in keeping minors alcohol-free.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says to start talking to kids as young as nine years old about alcohol.

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