Tri-state teenagers call attention to underage drinking - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Tri-state teenagers call attention to underage drinking

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

BLUE ASH, OH (FOX19)  - Just in time for prom season, a group of local teenagers is hoping to spread the word about partying and drinking.

Experts said 4.2-percent of Tri-state 7th graders and 18-percent of local high school freshmen drink on a monthly basis. Those are undeniably tough numbers for moms and dads to hear.

"I'm worried about the impact {drinking} could have on them," said Barbara Russell, a mother of four children. "It's tough to get through life now as a teenager. There's a lot of peer pressure, and of course I want to do anything I can to help."

That's why Russell and dozens of other parents, young people and community leaders packed the Blue Ash Municipal Building on Tuesday night for a unique Town Hall Meeting.

"My school is a wonderful school, but it happens everywhere," said Alex Abbate, a high school senior at Ursuline Academy. "That's why I think it's really important. To get the knowledge out there to everyone in the community."

Abbate has pledged to stop the problem. For the last three years, she's worked with the Northeast Community Challenge Coalition or NECC. The group helped plan Tuesday's meeting. Organizers said it's important to reach young people, but also to reach their parents and guardians. For as organizers told FOX19, adults are far too often the ones responsible for fueling a growing, deadly problem.

"We have kids as young as five, even younger, who are starting to drink," said Dr. Leslie Elrod, co-chair of the local chapter of the NECC. "They hang around with their parents. Have a sip of the wine; have a sip of the beer. They become socialized at a very young age, and figure this is acceptable. This is a way to fit in and have fun."


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