Teens warn peers about the dangers of underage drinking

Published On: Mar 21 2013 10:17:00 PM HST

Teens from across the state were out in force in Honolulu on Thursday night warning their peers about the dangers of underage drinking.

Local teens want the message to stick that underage drinking needs to stop. Dozens of youth leaders and law enforcement officials are part of a training program to support underage drinking prevention. For sophomore, Mariah Schiessel-Kaaialii, the problem hits close to home.

"I had a personal family member that died from teen drinking," said Schiessel-Kaaialii.

Underage drinking is rampant in Hawaii. Every year an estimated 46,000 high school students drink according to the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in 2011.

"My primary enforcement is with DUI's so I see a lot of adults to kids drinking and driving. I've arrested as young as a 15-year-old for a DUI," said Rusty Lawso with the Maui Police Department.

And it's not unique to Hawaii, nationwide, alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug, taking the lives of nearly 5,000 young people each year.

"For us it's about educating the teens that want to listen to us. They are the ones that go back to their friends and pass the word on," said Lawso.

"We are here to learn, we need strategies and ways to say no against peer pressure, and that will help us make a stand against underage drinking," said  Schiessel-Kaaialii.

The event is part of a three-day training program that continues through Friday with underage drinking prevention activities. The training program is federally funded.

Click here to watch Nana Ohkawa's report.


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