Public urged to attend town hall meeting on under-age drinking

Sunnyside is one of 63 communities that are holding town hall meetings as a state-wide effort to increase awareness of under-age drinking.

Sunnyside Police Chief Ed Radder said this is the time parents and the public can make a difference in the lives of kids who are drinking, and drinking to excess.

The Sunnyside meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, at the Sunnyside High School auditorium.

Radder and high school students will lead the dialogue that they hope will lead to possible ways to curb under-age drinking.

Under-age drinking is the leading public health problem in Washington. A 2005 Healthy Youth Survey conducted in schools state-wide found that nearly one out of five eighth graders had already used alcohol, and one out of five tenth graders had recently drank five or more drinks in a row.

"We have alcohol that looks and tastes like pop, and 5,000 youths nationally under the age of 21 who die every year from alcohol-related injuries," said Doug Allen, acting director of the Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse in the Department of Social and Health Services, which is one of the sponsors of the meetings state-wide.

The local town hall is being sponsored by Sunnyside's Promise, the Sunnyside Police Department, Casa Esparanza, Educational Service District 105, Washington State Liquor Board, Parent Information and Resource Centers, Sunnyside School District and the Daily Sun News.

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