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State kicks off 4th year of campaign to prevent underage drinking



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Representatives from several state agencies met today to discuss the fourth year of the Parents Empowered campaign. It encourages parents to talk to their children about underage drinking.

This year, the campaign has the same message, but it's added more commercials and tools to reach out to parents. Creators hope parents will get involved with their children.

A survey by the Student Health and Risk Prevention group found that Utah underage drinking is down significantly in the past two years.


In Utah, many kids begin drinking in elementary school, and binge drinking is a common activity by the 10th grade. -Parents Empowered

"Fewer Utah teens are drinking. Utah now has the lowest underage drinking rates in the county at half the national average, and the numbers are still dropping," said Lt. Gov. Greg Bell.

Those stats are attributed to parents talking to their children about drinking.

"Parents need to be involved with their kids. They need to establish those clear rules, and they have to be accountable. There has to be consequences," said Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.

If parents are looking for ways to approach the subject, parentsempowered.org has suggestions. Also online, you'll find informational videos and games your children can play. It's all designed to get you and your child talking.

**What is… Parents Empowered?**
Parents Empowered is a media and education campaign funded by the Utah Legislature and designed to prevent and reduce underage drinking in Utah by providing parents and guardians with information about the harmful effects of alcohol on the developing teen brain, along with proven skills for preventing underage alcohol use.
**Did you know…**
• Kids who drink before age 15 have a 40% chance of becoming alcohol-dependent • 67% of teens who drink before the age of 15 will go on to use illegal drugs
• They are 22 times more likely to use marijuana • They are 50 times more likely to use cocaine • 95% of meth users began drinking before age 15
• Alcohol poisoning is more likely to kill young people than all other illicit drugs combined • Traffic accidents are the #1 killer of teens; and more than one-third of teen traffic deaths are alcohol-related - *Parents Empowered*
Recently, Dan Jones and Associates surveyed 600 Utah parents in hopes the campaign is increasing awareness. The survey found: - 65 percent said their child could be exposed to acohol - 57 percent said they have set rules about drinking - 36 percent said they're likely to monitor all of their child's activities

"You don't have to be a superhero. You don't have to be an expert in parenting. You just have to be involved," said Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore.

Another interesting tool for parents who don't know how to text: You can go online to parentsempowered.org and send ready-made text messages via your computer

E-mail: ngonzales@ksl.com

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Nicole Gonzales

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