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Officials Form Group to Reduce Underage Drinking

Officials in Frederick County say they are always trying to find new ways to reduce underage drinking. Now they are forming a coalition to bring awareness of the dangers and monitoring places where underage people can access alcohol.
FREDERICK, Md. - Officials in Frederick County say they are always trying to find new ways to reduce underage drinking. Now they are forming a coalition to bring awareness of the dangers and monitoring places where underage people can access alcohol.

Like many communities, officials in Frederick County say underage drinking is an issue. Now representatives from Frederick City Police, the health department, and other organizations are banding together to form the Frederick County Alcohol Prevention Initiative Coalition.

"A lot of them don't understand the ramifications particularly those that become old enough to drive, and drink and drive," said Lt. Bruce DeGrange of Frederick City Police. "It's actually worse than adults in some cases because kids don't know how to handle it to any degree."

"It can lead to unintended injuries, it can lead to drinking and driving related accidents and fatalities," said Todd Crum of Frederick County Health Department. "We also have social, school, family problems, legal consequences, as well associated with underage drinking."

Officials say underage drinking stems from young adults ability to obtain the alcoholic products, from buying them at liquor stores, restaurants, and bars. Lieutenant DeGrange says law enforcement officials will keep a closer eye on those outlets to make sure alcoholic beverages are not purchased by underage drinkers.

"From our standpoint, it's more taking the appropriate enforcement action based on what the circumstances are," said DeGrange. "We are more about education than just going out and trying to lock people up and we will take enforcement if it is appropriate that's not what it is all about."

They're also planning to heighten awareness by giving more educational presentations at local high schools and colleges. 

"The prevention message, we want to get out to young people is that alcohol use by young people, does not have to happen," said Crum. "We do have young people in our community, who choose not to drink and that's the message we want to get out there, is that young people do not need to have alcohol to have a good time young people do not have to drink, and not everybody is doing it."

The coalition is holding a public meeting every third Thursday of each month from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Frederick County Health Department.

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