Local agencies work to keep kids alcohol free

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - What can parents do to prevent underage drinking? According to Parents Empowered: bonding, boundaries, monitoring and family dinners are key. 
 
Several partners in both the private and public sector in Washington County joined Thursday in St. George to show their support of parents empowered, the state underage drinking prevention initiative. 
 
Their purpose is to urge and empower parents to have open communication with their children about the various struggles and issues associated with underage drinking and set clear family rules about alcohol with the goal of having all of Washington County’s children alcohol free. 
 
Many speakers stressed the importance of parent involvement stating that something as simple as having family dinner can cut the likelihood a youth will engage in substance use by 33 percent and decrease suicide by 50 percent. 
 
The take away from Thursday’s kick-off event, the power of positive parent involvement in their children’s lives. 
 
“Parents can have the most impact with their kids through bonding, boundaries and monitoring all of these things. They have the greatest impact because they are the parents they can control what their kids are doing and really make sure that they are living a healthy life,” said Brianna Bloxham, president of the Washington County Youth Coalition. 
 
The St. George Police Department has a strict zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking for those consuming the alcohol along with those supplying the alcohol because the effects of underage drinking are serious. 
 
“First of all, it increases the chance of academic failure, illicit drug use and many other behavioral problems as they develop. Some of the things that we see associated with underage drinking often times it can lead to alcohol poisoning, suicide, even homicide, sexual assault or even just regular assault,” said Capt. Kyle Whitehead with St. George Police Department. 
 
The Washington County School District has shown their support of Parents Empowered by wrapping more than 100 of its school buses and Intermountain Health Care has signs covering the doors around their hospitals both focusing on the serious struggles and issues associated with underage drinking. 
 

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