Thomasville, Nation tackles underage drinking - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thomasville, Nation tackles underage drinking

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March 28, 2006

Thomasville- For the first time ever communities across the nation and right here in Georgia will meet the risks of underage drinking head on. Nineteen meeting are being held across Georgia and in Thomasville residents are talking about how to prevent the abuse.

A nationwide commercial shows the impact.

"Hi. My name is Lisa, I'm eight and in nine years, I'll be an alcoholic."

This is exactly what 19 meetings across Georgia and one Tuesday night in Thomasville are focusing on, the risks of underage drinking.

"Kids are going to be under a lot of peer pressure, but if the parents are involved and talk with the children to let them know that they are there for them then they can help that child with the peer pressure," said Deborah Miller, Prevention Coordinator.

It's that peer pressure that has kids experiencing their first alcoholic drink by the fifth grade. That's why this program targets kids between 10 and 17 who may see drinking as socially acceptable.

"Kids at a very early age get the exposure as a result of watching their parents, people they respect drink and they associate good times with that," said Christopher Sheffield, Certified Adiction Counselor.

A Tuesday night meeting hopes to show parents and their kids that underage drinking is not only risky but costly for their health and the state.

"Total amount of costs for the state of Georgia for everything ranging from traffic accidents to treatment, etc. is one billion 524 million dollars per year," said Sheffield.

With 72 percent of Georgia's high school students admitting to having had at least one drink the message is simple.

"Alcohol in the short term and in the long term is no good. It leads to a dead end," said Sheffield.

By getting parents, students, and the community involved this program helps to make students think twice before they pick up a bottle.

For additional help in the battle against underage substance abuse you can contact the Heritage House in Thomasville and the Sycamore Center in Albany.

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