NC Effort Seeks to Reduce Human Cost of Underage Drinking

WNCN-TV – North Carolina leaders are trying to put a stop to underage drinking.

This weekend, community leaders are being updated on a statewide campaign to raise awareness about the dangerous issue. The statistics are shocking.

“North Carolina actually loses on average 100 people per year as a result of underage drinking and we have thousands of injuries as well,” said LaRonda Scott, the state executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

“We lose two children per week in North Carolina from underage drinking related accidents. It’s cost the state a billion-plus [dollars] every year so it’s a big problem,” said Jim Gardner, chairman of the North Carolina ABC Commission.

In an effort to solve the big problem, the commission launched the “Talk It Out” campaign. The campaign is designed to raise awareness about underage drinking by encouraging parents to talk to their kids – the sooner the better. The campaign includes some hard-hitting commercials, including one of a tearful mother decorating her daughter in a casket.

“Talking is a critical piece from where they are little until they are older so if you develop that relationship with your child and the ability to talk to your kids about what is effecting them at that age appropriate time,” said Kelly Langston, president of the North Carolina PTA board of directors.

Gardner addressed new anti-underage drinking resources at the state PTA conference.

“The children are more aware of the problem than the parents by some 20 points,” he said. “They say it’s a serious problem we are concerned about. It’s available everywhere to us.”

Officials said the way to deal with the issue is to get parents and children together to talk about how to overcome it.

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