Town halls to focus on teen drinking

CHARLES TOWN – School officials, parents and others concerned about underage drinking will gather here next week as hundreds of communities nationwide hold town hall meetings on the problem.

With April designated as Alcohol Awareness Month, officials with the federal government’s Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking are helping to organize the gatherings.

The meetings are designed to educate parents, teachers, officials, youth and other community members about the impact of underage drinking and possible ways to combat the issue.

In Charles Town, a town hall begins at 6 p.m. April 26 at Washington High School at 300 Washington Patriot Drive.

Two other town halls are scheduled for the Eastern Panhandle: starting at noon

April 24 at Panorama at the Peak restaurant on W.Va. 9 at the scenic overlook just outside of Berkeley Springs and at 7 p.m. April 25 at Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center at 2500 Foundation Way in Martinsburg.

Research indicates that families exert a great deal of influence on whether a child uses alcohol. reports that children and teens are less likely to abuse alcohol if parents are involved in their children’s lives, make and enforce clear rules, and are positive role models.

Parents’ involvement can make a huge difference, says Keleigh Taylor, program director of Building Our Lives Drug-free (BOLD), the Eastern Panhandle Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership.

“What parents may not realize is that children say that their parents’ disapproval of underage drinking is a key reason they have chosen not to drink,” Taylor said.

For more information on the town halls in Berkeley and Jefferson counties, call 304-886-1347. Information on the Morgan County meeting may be obtained by calling 304-258-7807.

Want to go?

What: Town Halls on underage drinking

Who: Parents, teachers, officials, youth and other community members concerned about teens and alcohol

When: noon, April 24 in Berkeley Springs; 7 p.m. April 25 in Martinsburg; 6 p.m. April 26 in Charles Town

Where: In Berkeley Springs at Panorama at the Peak restaurant; in Martinsburg at Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center at 2500 Foundation Way; and in Charles Town at Washington High School at 300 Washington Patriot Drive.

To know more: In Berkeley and Jefferson counties, call 304-886-1347. In Morgan County, call 304-258-7807.

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