MADD urges parents to fight underage drinking

MADD urges parents to fight underage drinking (Image 1)

Several teens in Murfreesboro are facing charges for underage drinking after police found them under the influence of alcohol in separate incidents.

One teen is facing felony reckless endangerment charges in connection with a drunk driving incident where police found him with three other teen passengers who were also under the influence.

According Murfreesboro police, Austin Highcock, 19, was seen driving out of a Shell station on Rutherford Boulevard into oncoming traffic around 2 a.m. Saturday.

A Murfreesboro police officer wrote in his arrest report that Highcock then turned left onto Alumni Drive, jumped the median and almost hit another car.

When police stopped Highcock he failed the first sobriety test and then said, “There's no point.”

Highcock's arrest was one of several over the weekend in Murfreesboro where minors were found under the influence of alcohol.

Jami Dutton, Autumn Patton and Ashley Geddie all 20-years-old were arrested at a South Rutherford Boulevard home after someone called about an armed suspect.

The women were later found trying to leave the apartment and police detained them.

According to a Murfreesboro arrest report all of the women appeared to be under the influence and were charged with underage consumption and public intoxication.

In a separate incident Andrew Davis, 18, was arrested for underage consumption and public intoxication after police found him wandering around a backyard in the 1100 block of Eastwoods drive.

The arrests highlight a problem thar Mothers Against Drunk Driving have launched a new campaign to fight, underage drinking.

Phaedra Marriott-Olsen heads up MADD's Power of Parents program.

The program provides resources to parents to start conversations with their children about drinking and educates parents on how prevalent underage drinking is among their children and peers.

“Right now we have students as young as the age of 12 and as old as 20 years old in treatment for alcohol addiction,” Marriott-Olsen said. “If we can give parents the right tools and the right information we can make an impact on their student's life.”

Marriott-Olsen speaks to civic organizations and holds victim impact panels for teens and parents. The panel events are free and open to the public.

“They need to have the same concept that alcohol is a drug and it actually kills more teens than all illicit drugs combined,” she said. “Research has actually shown that parents are the number one influence in a teen's life. If parents will take the time to talk to their students about alcohol they will find students do listen.”

In Tennessee last year more than 300 teens died as a result of alcohol use. That includes alcohol consumption and wrecks where alcohol was a factor.

According to MADD, 20% of tenth graders admit to being drunk within the past month and 33% of twelfth graders admit to being drunk.

The use of alcohol makes teens more likely to be seriously injured, sexually assaulted and physically assaulted.

MADD plans to have its next victim impact panel for teens on Monday, November 12 at 6 p.m.

The event will be held at 1101 Kermit Dr. in Suite 104. The even is free and open to the public.

Parents can also download resources to help talk to their children about alcohol use from MADD's Web site.

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