My precious daughter, Alisa, was only 15 when she was killed in an underage drinking crash, so I live each day understanding the serious threat of underage drunk driving. The North Andover High School student, Erin Cox, was trying to make sure her friend got home safely, and for that I commend her; and as a bereaved mom, I thank her.
This is a complicated situation involving the health and safety of our youth. Underage drinking prevention is a key part of MADD’s mission because it is so dangerous. Underage drinking is not just a youth problem; it’s an adult issue too. So MADD appreciates all efforts to keep our youth safe, both on and off the road.
At MADD, we know that our hopes for a safer tomorrow are riding on today’s youth. By getting these young people off to a good start, we are taking a giant step toward their future health and safety. That’s why MADD is focused on tackling underage drinking, a problem that threatens our youth and endangers entire communities, now and down the road.
We hope parents will use this opportunity to talk with their kids about the dangers of underage drinking. When involved in such a situation, MADD encourages teens to reach out to an adult for assistance. MADD’s Power of Parents and Power of You(th) programs work with both parents and teens to give them the tools to help them prevent underage drinking. You can learn more about both of these programs and the resources available at www.madd.org/underage-drinking.
I am thankful that in this instance, no one was injured as a result of underage drinking. My hope is that the awareness brought about by this situation will encourage parents, teens and communities around the country to start the conversation about alcohol and learn how they can help prevent underage drinking.
Ultimately, it took courage for Erin to come to her friend’s aid, and I know we can all agree on that.