Friday, April 06, 2012
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State police town hall meeting raises awareness of underage drinking

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[April 06, 2012]  SPRINGFIELD -- Next week, town hall meetings will take place nationwide to support the goals of the "Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking." On April 12, Illinois State Police District 9, in conjunction with the Sangamon County Coalition Against Underage Drinking, will participate in a town hall meeting at the Dove Conference Center at the Prairie Heart Institute in Springfield. The meeting will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Free parking will be available in the parking garage across the street.

Law enforcement, prevention programs and health departments will come together to allow the community an opportunity to discuss and learn how underage drinking affects individuals, families and the community. There will be representation from the Illinois State Police, Springfield Police Department, Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association, Illinois Church Action on Alcohol & Addiction Problems, Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, National Guard, Operation Teen Safe Driving, Prevention First, SIU School of Medicine, University of Illinois Springfield, and YMCA.

Information and resources will be available to the public, including discussion panels by teens and law enforcement, as well as exhibits from local and statewide prevention groups. A personal testimony of experience with alcohol addiction will also be shared.

Underage drinking is a major public health problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States. Approximately 5,000 people under age 21 die each year as a result of underage drinking, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

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Parents, youth, educators, prevention specialists, business leaders, law enforcement, public health officials and concerned citizens are encouraged to attend the town hall meeting. A strong collaborative effort can prevent the terrible and often tragic consequences of underage drinking.

[Text from file received from Illinois State Police District 9]

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