Local high school teams up with an organization to prevent underage drinking

Local high school teams up with an organization to prevent underage drinking
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 11:00 PM EST
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WILBRAHAM, MA. (WGGB/WSHM) - The Thursday night event focused on alcohol use which remained one of the most popular substances misused by high schoolers.

One of the panelists, Hampden County Assistant District Attorney Curtis Frick, shared the impact of underage drinking and its legal consequences.

“The effects and the outcomes can be quite dramatic,” said Frick.

He said his office usually doesn’t hear about these cases until something tragic has already happened.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a person will drive 80 times under the influence before getting caught.

In addition to law enforcement, the panel included students and health professionals including Dr. Chris Overtree, who is a clinical psychologist.

Dr. Overtree said alcohol misuse and abuse is a complex issue, “In my experience, I’ve rarely seen children and adolescents struggling with something that came exclusively inside them. Alcohol itself is the direct cause of many physical, mental, emotional, and social problems.”

Western Mass News caught up with one parent after the event and explained why drunk driving is a major concern for her.

“The fact that underage drinking is so prevalent and that on any given night when I’m going to pick up my child from their friend’s house, I could be hit by someone who is driving under the influence of alcohol,” said Melanie Gagliarducci.

The Hampden Wilbraham Partner for Youth Coalition is set to host community mental health first aid training in the coming months.