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What's So Bad About Underage Drinking?

Madras townhall hears citizens views
Around 60 people attended the Underage Drinking Town Hall Sept. 21, to share opinions on drinking, and hear a panel of presenters working on the front line of the problem.
   Comments were given by a judge, district attorney, doctors, ambulance personnel, law officers, the emergency room manager, juvenile workers, a Warm Springs parole employee, parents, teens and reformed alcoholics.
   "No matter where you stand on the issue of underage drinking, it's an issue it will take a community to solve. It's not just a treatment issue, or a law enforcement issue," said moderator Heather Crow-Martinez.
   Several groups, such as the Oregon Partnership represented by Pam Erickson, are trying to reach parents with the message that drinking is not a rite of passage to adulthood. In fact, fatal car wrecks and alcohol poisonings have kept many teens from ever becoming adults.
   Often, parents are not aware of the dangers associated with teen drinking, including drugs available, date rape, teen pregnancy, and car accidents. Parent responsibility was stressed.
   Those at the town hall agreed that this should be an ongoing conversation, with more educational workshops offered with the hopes of changing community norms, which appear to accept underage drinking.