JOPLIN, MO.--- A recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows 39% of teens in Missouri have had some type of alcohol in the past 30 days. So people in Joplin are directly addressing the issue. Law enforcement from Jasper, Newton, and McDonald counties met with the public today to discuss the issue. They are trying to come up with ways to reduce the amount of under age drinking in the Four States.
"So today we are having a town hall meeting to discuss prevention of underage drinking. We really want our community collation around this area to get more informed on underage drinking and how they can prevent it in their own communities," said Chelsey Hall, Alliance of Community Involvement Director.
Alcohol is the most common used and abused drug among youth in the United States, responsible for more than 4,300 annual deaths among young people.
"Underage drinking is a problem. It's harming our kids, it's killing our kids. Of course, identify some of the problems and see if we can get the community together," said Sheriff Ken Copeland, Newton County Sheriff's Department.
Studies show underage drinkers consume more drinks on average than adults who are of age. Sheriff Ken Copeland says parents can play a role in helping to reduce that statistic.
"Know where your child is going for a party. Check it out and go for yourself over there and see if they have alcohol there. A problem we have is parents will provide alcohol at a party for the kids," said Sheriff Copeland.
According to the survey, during the past 30 days, 39% of teens drank alcohol, 22% binge drank, 8% drove after drinking and 24% of underage drinkers rode with a driver who had consumed alcohol. Underage drinking also becomes more popular right around finals and graduation time.
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