Groups fighting against underage drinking

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 1:00pm

Now that beer and wine can be sold in the city of Tyler, some believe this will increase the number of underage drinkers.

A coalition fighting against underage drinking meets every month to discuss ways to reduce the risk and prevent teenagers from drinking.

The Next Step Community Solutions Coalition has three goals: curb underage drinking and binge drinking, curb illicit drug use and discourage kids from taking up tobacco.

"Kids tend to do things they wouldn't normally do if they weren't quite so intoxicated. We really try to focus on that," said Kristi Roberts, Program Director for Community Coalition Partnership.

Roberts tells KETK underage drinking in Tyler is not severe, but it can get worse.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is another organization that participates in the group's monthly discussions.

"Adults buying it for teens can access it. It's still accessible whether it is being sold in a store, in your community or if it's being sold in a store 20 miles down the road. It's still accessible," said Leslie Watson, Executive Director for MADD.

KETK asked others their opinion on underage drinking.

They agree the new law is not going to stop any kid from drinking under the age of 21.

"I remember when I was in high school alcohol was easy to get even when it wasn't wet in Tyler. I believe it would be a problem. Teenagers will have more access to alcohol. It will be easier," said Chris Williams.

"I think kids are going to drink whether it's a wet county or not just because you know that is the thing to do," said Madison Hudson.

According to statistics, alcohol is very common with teenagers today.

72%of teenagers have tried alcohol even before the end of high school and more than a third have started drinking by 8th grade.

Since the new law, the coalition is meeting with city officials and local stores to prevent teenagers from getting in trouble with the law.


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