Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

03/28/06 - Nacogdoches

Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking

by Jessica Cervantez

Community members and parents listen as a panel of speakers addresses underage drinking. In a national effort to reduce the problem, town hall meetings are being held throughout the nation.

Terrie Mayfield, of the Nacogdoches Safe & Drug Free, said, "Every state is having at least one town hall meeting tonight. The gist of it is we have to address underage drinking at the earliest age possible, because by the time they are in middle school, half of the kids are already using or have been exposed to alcohol."

Judge Donna Clayton, Justice of the Peace Pct. 1, sees the consequences of drinking far too often. Judge Clayton says it becomes too real when she has to pronounce young teens dead, and then, has to tell their parents.

Clayton said, "I have to talk to the parents and say this young person is no longer with us because of the choice that they made."

She's seen children as young as ten years old, who have already started drinking, come through her court.

Clayton said, "That tells me if only one that age got caught how many more out there haven't."

Images of those deadly accidents stay in the minds of law enforcement officers. Nacogdoches Assistant Police Chief Mike Kelly knows the loss of lives can be prevented.

Kelly said, "We're seeing too much, now, at the fifth and sixth grade levels that I just don't think we were seeing a few years back."
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