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Sheriff warning kids about underage drinking

A group Silverdale Elementary students are among the thousands taking part in the Reach Out Now National Teach-In event on underage drinking.

Sheriff Steve Boyer is talking to a group of 27 fifth graders today for about an hour regarding the harmful effects that consuming alcohol can have on a growing body.

The teach-ins are sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Scholastic Inc. and Bremerton-Kitsap County Traffic Safety Task Force. This is the first time the program has been conducted in Washington state.

In one national study, one-third of fourth graders and more than one-half of sixth graders reported having been pressured by friends to drink alcohol. By the time they reach the eighth grade, nearly 50 percent of adolescents have had at least one drink, and over 20 percent report having been “drunk.”

“Every police chief, the Sheriff and State Patrol district commander in Kitsap County feels fifth grade is not to soon to begin talking with children and youth about illegal alcohol use,” said Shirley Wise, coordinator of Bremerton-Kitsap County Traffic Safety Task Force. “Children in our community need to know how to reject underage alcohol use and how potentially damaging underage drinking is to their health today and tomorrow.”

Wise created the lesson plan that the law enforcement officers are using at five school sites.

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