Underage drinking numbers on the rise

Nearly 30 percent of youth ages 12-20 have used alcohol, 41 percent of eighth-graders have had at least one drink and almost 20 percent report having been drunk, according to data from the Partnership of Community Resources.

The Partnership and the federal government's Interagency Coordinating Committee for the Prevention of Underage Drinking are sponsoring a event to educate residents on the impact underage drinking has on the community.

The subject for the Partnership's An Evening for Friends and Family is "Underage Drinking - What's the Big Deal?" The free event is planned for 6 p.m. March 28 at Carson Valley United Methodist Church, 1375 Centerville Lane in Gardnerville.

Panelists will present information on all aspects of teen drinking and answer questions on the subject. Counselor Kris Freitas from Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School, Vicky Sauer-Lamb from the Douglas County Juvenile Probation Office and Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini will be featured speakers.

All ages are welcome. Free baby-sitting is offered for the event and refreshments will be served. For more information, contact the Partnership of Community Resources at partnership-resource.org or at 782-8611.

Other alcohol facts from Partnership of Community Resources include:

n On a typical Friday or Saturday night, one in seven drivers is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

n Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15-20-year-olds. More than 36 percent of the accidents are alcohol- or drug-related.

n Youth alcohol-related fatalities have increased every year since 1997.

n More than one-third of America's alcoholics are under the legal drinking age.

n Younger drinkers may become alcoholic in six months to three years vs. the 10-15 year pattern for adults.

n Studies have shown that a child who starts drinking before the age of 15 is four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence as a adult.

n Alcohol costs the U.S. economy an estimated $134 million per year in lost productivity and earnings due to illness, premature death and crime.

n More than 5,000 infants are born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome each year, resulting in an estimated $1.4 million in health care costs.

This program is one of thousands of national town hall meetings held March 28 to address the issue of underage drinking.

What: "Underage Drinking - What's the Big Deal?"

Where: Carson Valley United Methodist Church, 1375 Centerville Lane, Gardnerville

When: 6-7:30 p.m. March 28

Info: partnership-resource.org or 782-8611


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