Enquirer Herald

Town to battle teen drinking

CLOVER -- Every day, three teens die from drinking and driving wrecks. Six more die each day from other alcohol-related incidents.

Facing this reality, Clover High has teamed up with Keystone Substance Abuse Services to combat underage drinking. They'll present a town-hall type program at 6:30 tonight at Clover High.

Keystone representatives will present statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association along with other information associated with youth and alcohol during the meeting. They'll also talk about the impact that underage drinking has on the community and will present possible solutions, according to a Keystone press release.

Based on the research, underage drinking is prevalent among youth in York County.

A 2007 survey of middle and high school students in the York County School Districts revealed that 43.57 percent of 8- to 16-year olds have had their first drink of alcohol, the press release stated.

Changing those statistics will require everyone working together, said Jane Alleva, Keystone spokeswoman.

"We won't make change if we just make it a school issue or a parent issue or even a law enforcement issue," she said. "We have to make this a community change."

Topics at the meeting will include: The dangers of underage drinking and the impact it has on the community, the importance of preventing, not providing, the value of parents' discussing the issue with their children on a regular basis and the new underage drinking laws.

Any effort to combat teenage drinking is worthwhile, said Clover High Principal Ron Wright.

"I think it's a problem nationally and I don't think York County is exempt from it," he said.

Wright met with Keystone before setting up the town meeting.

"Them sharing with me some of the latest trends in drinking and underage drinking let me know right away that parents need to see and hear some of the different things," he said. "I didn't realize, for example, that a portion of teenage drinking has moved over toward combining alcohol and energy drinks."

Light refreshments will be served at the meeting. Two drawings will be held for a chance to win an iPod shuffle and a Target gift card.

For a more in-depth look at the underage drinking problem, see The Herald on Sunday.

-- The Herald contributed