More thoughts on underage drinkingJill River, prevention specialist with Tualatin Valley Centers, and Alice Beck, human services supervisor for Clatsop County Health and Human Services, wrote The Daily Astorian to thank Steve Forrester for his March 6 editorial on underage drinking, "Stop the problem before it starts."

The pair sent a list of tips parents and other adults can use to help kids steer clear of alcohol:

Get involved. Establish family routines and "together time." Get to know your child's friends and parents; be a part of the activities they're involved in.

Communicate. Be clear with your child that you don't want them using alcohol. Talk to them often about the dangers. Listen to your child and give honest answers. Use music and television as ways to discuss alcohol. Role-play with your child and help them find ways to refuse alcohol in different situations.

Walk the walk. Be a healthy example and role model. Know that with kids, there is no such thing as "do as I say, not as I do" when it comes to alcohol. Seek professional help if you need it.

Lay down the law. Create and enforce rules consistently, set curfews, have your kids check in with you at regular times, make it easy for your child to leave a party where alcohol is being used.

Praise and reward. Reward good behavior immediately, and consistently praise your child when they do something right.

For information on how parents can make a difference, contact the Anti-Drug Campaign at (800) 788-2800 or at www.theantidrug.com. To get involved locally, call Jill River at 338-6990, ext. 106.

Percentage of crimes associated with alcohol and drug use nationwide in 1999: 69 percent of drownings

68 percent of manslaughter charges

62 percent of assaults

52 percent of rapes

50 percent of traffic fatalities

Up to 50 percent of spousal abuse

49 percent of murders

38 percent of child abuse

20 to 35 percent of suicides

Clatsop County eighth-graders who used alcohol at least once during the past month: Almost one in three

No. 1 source reported by young people for information: Their parents

Sources: Jill River, Tualatin Valley Centers; Alice Beck, Clatsop County Health and Human Services; National Institute of Drug Abuse; 2002 Healthy Teens Survey

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