Grant combats underage drinking - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Grant combats underage drinking

^ Nancy Powell ^ Nancy Powell
^   Tammie Brown and Nancy Powell ^ Tammie Brown and Nancy Powell

November 22, 2002

Albany -- Sixty-six-thousand dollars will be used, in part, to better educate store clerks in selling alcohol to underaged. Two mothers, who have had children killed by teenagers driving drunk, shared their stories with community leaders Friday morning.

They say they hope stepped up efforts will save more parents the tragedy they live with. Nancy Powell and Tammie Brown stood together to tell how their children were killed by underage drunk drivers.

Powell said "In going to these schools, you realize how many kids drink, and how easy it was for them to get this alcohol." Eighteen-year-old year old Adam Powell was killed June 3rd, 1998, by a drunk teen driver. Powell said the Underage Drinking Law Coalition is needed. "I realize as a mother how many of these kids drank, and it was shocking to me."

Tammie Brown brought a picture of her son Christopher. He was only 15 when he was hit and killed by a drunk teen driver in June 1999. Brown said "If I can be a part of this grant. A part of this program, and save one life, I'll make him proud."

Powell's and Brown's tragic family stories were powerful examples why alcohol sales to people under 21 years old is such an important issue.

Dougherty District Attorney Ken Hodges said "If the stores and store clerks will stop selling to these underaged, we could prevent a lot of accidents and crashes caused by drunk teen drivers."

The grant from the state's Children and Youth Coordinating Commission will help pay for more undercover checks in stores, to make sure they are not selling to underaged.

The Winery owner Paul Duffy said "We are all for it. The last thing we want to do in the alcohol business is sell to minors."

The grant money will also be used for education programs to battle underage drinking. And a group of community leaders will help.

Hopefully it will prevent more stories of grief like Nancy's or Tammie's. Powell said "You need to talk to people so that our other sons will live a long life."

Cases of underage drinking arrests in Dougherty County rose 29 percent from 2000 to 2001.

posted at 4:13PM by jimw@walb.com

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