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Local Organization Brings Awareness to the Dangers of Underage Drinking

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It's not something most parents want to think about, but more young people are consuming alcohol more than any other drug, including tobacco and marijuana.

According to the Youth Behavior Survey, conducted by the state of Nevada, 67% of Nevada's high school students admitted to drinking at least once. About 17.5% participated in binge drinking within the 30 days leading up to this survey.

So why are so many teenagers choosing to drink? "They're bored, there's nothing to do. We have no safe place for the kids to go and hang out on the weekends, so they go out, throw a party and drink," said Gwen Taylor, the executive director of Access for Community and Cultural Education Programs and Training (ACCEPT.) "What's so disheartening is some of the parents are giving the kids liquor and there's a lot of peer pressure."

Underage drinking isn't just a problem at the high school level but middle school as well. The same survey shows about 5.5% of 8th graders have already tried alcohol. Taylor said it might sound young, but research shows you should talk to your child by fifth or sixth grade about alcohol.

Taylor said there are some warning signs you should be aware of as a parent that might tip you off that your child is drinking. "Check their text messages sometimes, ask them where they're going and follow up to see if they are actually going where they say. There's a lot of warning signs and one of the big ones is when they become distant and really don't want to talk to you when they get home. Smell their breath and see what's going on."

If you want to learn more about the dangers of underage drinking, ACCEPT is holding a town hall meeting this Sunday at 3 p.m. at Greater Light Christian Center.

You can watch the interview in its entirety on Face the State this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and Sunday at 6:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Written by Chris Ciarlo
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