Town Hall Meeting - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Pocahontas - Keith Boles, Reporting

Town Hall Meeting

POCAHONTAS (KAIT) - Underage drinking is causing concern in one Region 8 community.

 The number of underage kids drinking is staggering in Randolph county.

 If you have teenage children and you live in Randolph county you need to be aware of how many underage kids are drinking.

  Lindsay Coe, Randolph County Cornerstone Coalition, "The purpose of the town hall meeting is to increase the awareness of what a problem underage drinking is for Randolph county. "

 And the problem is very serious , the statistics I am about to share with you come from a recent APNA survey that the kids took in schools up there.

 The average age for first alcohol use is 12 and a half.

 The average age for regular alcohol use is 14.

 It gets better,

 47% of 10th graders have easy access to alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.

 Break that down to, 11% of 8th graders who drink got it from a sibling.

 31% of 6th graders who drink got it from someone 21 or older.

 So where are the parents during all this you ask?

 21% of 8th graders who drink at home with parent's permission.

 59% of 10th graders feel their parents attitudes are favorable for alcohol use.

 In other words, "drink at home so I can watch you."

 And how about friends like these.

 40% of 10th graders feel that their friends attitudes are favorable to their drinking and drug use.

 The really scary part is most of these statistics are from teens who aren't even old enough to get a drivers license to drive a car, sober or drunk.

 With the town meeting the coalition is calling upon community leaders and youth and parents to help solve the problem.

 Coe, "Our main focus is on underage drinking and were trying to pair up our town hall meeting with the beginning of Alcohol Awareness Week which is actually beginning April first."

 This weekend is the beginning of the step up monitoring by law enforcement on drunk driving.

 The coalition urged everyone who could to attend the meeting. They need your ideas on how to provide alternatives and solutions to the problem.

 Coe. "We would like their input, the community needs to be a part of this. We want them to feel like a part of this and help us interact and initiate these programs."

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