Did you know: Marketers of beer and distilled spirits brands delivered more advertising to youth than adults in magazines in 2001?

Did you know: One-third of eighth-graders report having been drunk at least once in their life?

'Teens are more likely to delay drinking when they have a close, supportive tie.'- Jill River

prevention coordinator for Tualatin Valley CentersThese are just some of the facts Warrenton middle school students will walk away with from their first "Talk About Tuesday," a state program designed to prevent underage drinking

"As parents, it's a chance to talk to them about a critical issue, whether underage drinking is a part of frequent conversation in your household, or you're tackling the topic for the first time," said Jill River, prevention coordinator for Tualatin Valley Centers.

The program is sponsored by Oregon Partnership, which is taking the program to 22 state schools this year.

It starts with an assembly and an alcohol-awareness letter that is mailed home to parents. Then Tuesday, students receive bracelets with different facts and information on them about alcohol abuse.

Volunteers and staff will circulate the school and ask students questions about the information on their bracelets. If they respond correctly, they'll receive an incentive, such as candy.

When students go home in the evening, if they talk to their parents about alcohol usage, parents can sign a coupon the students can then bring back and enter in a raffle.

"Young people do listen to what their parents say," River said. "The myth is they don't. Teens are more likely to delay drinking when they have a close, supportive tie."

According to the 2002 Oregon Healthy Teens survey, 27 percent of Clatsop County eighth-grade students have used alcohol in the past month, slightly higher than the state average of 25 percent, or one in four.

According to the Oregon Partnership, people who start to drink as young teenagers are more likely to develop an alcohol addiction later in life. Because teens' brains aren't fully developed, their memory, decision-making and learning are impacted. And many youth are ignorant of the risks of alcohol poisoning.

The partnership is hoping to turn the teen drinking tide through educational events such as this.

"We're kind of doing this as our test year, and hopefully be able to expand next year," River said. "We're really fortunate and really excited to be part of Talk About Tuesday."


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