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Time to act

March 24, 2008 - Betsy Bethel
Residents who are concerned about the underage drinking problem in our communities are encouraged to attend town hall meetings next week in Weirton, Wheeling, Moundsville, Woodsfield and Steubenville to lend their voices and support to efforts to prevent and reduce it.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, 1,600 such meetings are taking place across the United States starting today.

According to a press release from the Surgeon General and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the scope of the underage drinking problem is highlighted by a new SAMHSA report that found:

-- 28.3 percent of 12-20 year olds (10.8 million people) are current alcohol drinkers.

-- This same group drank on an average of 5.9 days in the past month and consumed an average of 4.9 drinks per day.

-- On the days they drank, they consumed more drinks per day than persons aged 21 or older.

I urge all parents, teachers, students and community leaders to attend the local town hall meetings.

"This problem is not going away on its own," said Dr. Steven K. Galson, U.S. Surgeon General. “Only by working together can we make a difference."

The meetings are as follows: -- Cameron High School, 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, organized by the Marshall County Family Resource Network/Marshall County Anti-Drug Coalition (Cameron)

-- Serbian-American Cultural Center, Weirton, 1 p.m. Sunday, April 6, organized by Brooke Hancock Drug Prevention Coalition

-- Christ United Methodist Church, Wheeling, 6 p.m. Thursday, April 3, organized by Ohio County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition

-- St. Sylvester's School, Woodsfield, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, organized by Monroe County Communities That Care

-- Jefferson Community College, 6 p.m. Monday, March 31, organized by the Jefferson County Anti-Drug Abuse Coalition


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