Tips on fighting underage drinking in the Piedmont

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Kenneth Thompson with Guilford County Schools says alcohol is a huge temptation for teenagers.

“When you see it, then there’s that tendency to experiment with things you see people doing,” he said.

According to a 2009 survey, 72 percent of 12th graders in North Carolina have tried alcohol at least once.

To help teenagers make smart decisions about drinking, Guilford County relies on a program called SMART.

Students Mentoring Awareness Resource Team, or SMART, meet with other students to talk about the dangers of underage drinking.

Guilford County Schools Counselor Kimberly Fields says students are more likely to listen to their friends when it comes to underage drinking.

“A lot of times kids will hear other students a lot faster than someone that’s older,” Fields said.

The ABC Commission is also attacking underage drinking. In May, the state agency will begin working with community groups to highlight the dangers of underage drinking and provide parents the help they need to teach kids that alcohol can be dangerous. School counselors like Fields are thrilled that the ABC Commission wants to help.

“The more people can talk about it the better,” she said. “The earlier parents can begin that conversation… saying no is not a one time decision.”

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