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Council: 71 Percent of Westchester Teens Report Easy Access To Alcohol

The Westchester Coalition for a Drug and Alcohol Free Youth has created a print and online campaign to get families talking about teen drinking.

The Westchester Coalition for Drug and Alcohol Free Youth is encouraging Pelham families to talk about teen drinking.

In their new postcard, poster and website, the message is clear: Parents are the first line of defense in the battle against teen drinking and substance abuse. And talking to your children—and being aware of where they are and who they're spending time with—are among the ways to keep them safe, according to the campaign.

To get the message out, the coalition mailed postcards with the headline, "If It's Not Your Kid, Whose Kid Is It?" to all parents in Westchester County with children in the middle and high schools, according to Patricia Warble, executive director of the Bedford/Lewisboro/Pound Ridge Drug Abuse Prevention Council and the coalition coordinator for Westchester.

In all the postcard was distributed to more than 25,000 homes.

In addition, the Westchester Coalition paid to put the postcard on bus and train kiosks throughout the county.

"Plus, we've worked with web designer Lauren Amsterdam to put together a stunning website with tools for parents and kids to get talking about teen drinking and substance abuse, Warble said. "We really want to get the word out about these resources."

The print campaign and the website, powertotheparent.org, highlights some startling statistics, myths and facts:

  • Every 15 minutes, a teenager dies from underage drinking or other drug use.
  • Over 70 percent of Westchester teens report they have easy access to alcohol.
  • Young girls are drinking more than boys.
  • It may be difficult for parents to spot when drinking or other dug use has become a problem.

The resources include a "toolkit" for parents to talk to their teens, including "20 Tips for Keeping Your Teen Safe," and "Empower Your Teen With Refusal Skills."

The purpose of the website—and the campaign—is to raise awareness of and help Westchester parents learn how to keep teens safe from alcohol and drugs, organizers said.

"Teenagers have their whole life ahead of them. Education and career. Friends and family. One wonderful chapter after another.  As parents, there is nothing in our own lives that we will ever do that is as important as making sure our kids have the chance to make that journey," the website reads.

For more information, visit www.PowerToTheParent.org and the Power to the Parent Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/PowerToTheParent or email LetsDoThis@PowerToTheParent.org .

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