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Underage drinking target of Town Hall meeting

Underage drinking target of Town Hall meeting
Parents, students and teachers gathered recently to address an ever-growing problem facing today’s youth. It is an obstacle that has stood in the way of students’ successes for many decades.
The Weakley County Alliance for a Safe and Drug Free Tennessee recently hosted a Town Hall Meeting on Underage Alcohol Use “Myths Busted” on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Martin.
The purpose of the event was to arm parents and their children with knowledge about the effects of underage drinking.
Weakley County was one of hundreds of communities nationwide which held a Town Hall Meeting to address the dangers of underage drinking.
Participants were educated about the impact that underage drinking has on the local community and were given statistics on alcohol use by Weakley County youth gathered through the Weakley County Student Survey conducted by the Weakley County Alliance.
A panel of professionals from the law enforcement field to the medical profession shared vital information and discussed possible ways to address the problem in Weakley County.
The panelists, Sheriff Mike Wilson, Weakley County Director of Schools Randy Frazier, Martin Housing Authority Executive Director, Brian Harris, General Sessions Judge Tommy Moore, Weakley Assistant Director of Schools Jeff Kelley, Martin Chief of Police David Moore, Weakley County Supervisor of Nurses Beth Kempton and UTM Director of Public Safety Scott Robbins each described the impact underage drinking has made on the youth of this community through the years in their field of work.
The short film “Buzz in a Bottle” about the dangers of popular energy drinks also told of the unknown risks that are readily available to everyone.
Members of the Weakley Count Youth Alliance (Students Creating Change) from the Crossroads Teen Center also let participants view a public service announcement the students had produced.
The event was moderated by WCMT News Director Dave Chaffin.
Underage drinking continues to be a leading public health problem in the United States.
Alcohol use threatens the safe and healthy development of more young people than any other substance — even more than tobacco and illicit drugs.
On an average day in 2006, 7,970 teens drank alcohol for the first time, a much higher number than begin smoking or trying illicit drugs.
Alcohol use among children and adolescents starts early and increases rapidly with age.
Town Hall Meetings are part of a national effort to increase understanding and awareness of underage drinking and its consequences, and to encourage individuals, families, and communities to address the problem.
They are designed to alert and empower the community as well as generate interest from the media.
These meetings give local communities the opportunity to come together to learn more about the new research on underage drinking and its impact on both individuals and the community, and to discuss how their community can implement the recommendations outlined in The Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking.
For more information about underage drinking, visit www.stopalcoholabuse.com, or contact the Weakley County Alliance at 731-364-2247.
WCP 5.18.10

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