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Campaign targets easy teen access to alcohol

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PIKserve teensE COUNTY — As teens around Pike County gear up for prom season, the national We Don’t Serve Teens program is once again targeting teens’ easy access to alcohol. Over the past two decades – following adoption of the legal drinking age of 21 – drinking by high school seniors has dropped substantially. It’s a law that protects kids.
Too many teens still drink, though. Where do they get the alcohol? The Arkansas Prevention Needs Assessment Student Survey, given annually to students in 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th  grades across the state, shows that most of them do not pay for it. Instead, they get it from family and friends, or they take it from a home without permission.
“Most alcohol-related deaths among teens are not due to traffic accidents, but to homicide, suicide, poisoning, burns, and drowning. Plus, about 180,000 kids visit the ER each year due to alcohol-related problems.” said Darla Kelsay, Regional Prevention Provider with Community Service, Inc. “So turning a blind eye to teen drinking contributes to harm.” Kelsay added, “If you need to know how to answer questions about underage drinking, visit DontServeTeens.gov for information. “Our office in Hot Springs also has a resource library with helpful materials.”
The Don’t Serve Teens campaign, led by the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, is supported by Community Service, Inc. and has been recognized by the U.S. House and Senate.

Did You Know?
• The average age of alcohol first use in Pike County is 12.3.
• Nearly 35% of 8th grade students in Pike County have ever used alcohol.
• More than half of American youths ages 12 to 20 have tried alcohol. Girls are nearly as likely as boys to experiment with drinking.
• Underage and binge drinking is risky and can lead to car accidents, violent behavior, alcohol positioning, and other health problems.
• Drinking at a young age greatly increases the risk of developing alcohol problems later in life.
• Talking to kids early and openly about the risks of drinking can help reduce their chances of becoming problem drinkers.
For more county, state, and regional data on alcohol, tobacco and other drug use by teens, log onto https://arkansas.pridesurveys.com or contact Community Service, Inc. at 501-624-5636.