Teen Drinking Growing Concern in Derby

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3-30-07 - The topic of underage drinking took center stage in derby this week. On Thursday night, a town hall meeting took place less than a week after police caught dozens of derby teens abusing alcohol.

The Derby Community Coalition hopes if parents and community members first realize and admit there is a problem with underage drinking in Derb, then they can come together to do something about it.

More than half of Kansas teens have tried alcohol, and more than 1,000 a year are in alcohol related car crashes.

They're statistics that surprised many parents here at the Derby Town Hall meeting and that's just what organizers want.

"One of the things I hope we can do is maybe admit that there's a problem; sometimes we need to admit it and embrace it so we can deal with it."

Dealing with underage drinking has kept Derby Police busy. During the first three months of 2007 they busted five parties. 41 teens have been cited for drinking and 25 were taken into custody by police. Those numbers are almost as high as those for the whole of last year.

"If there's one kid doing it and they have an accident and are killed or kill someone else that's one too many so I don't think you can put a number on if you have a problem or not."

So that's why the Derby Community Coalition brought these parents together into small groups to talk and help come up with ways to combat the problem.

One idea is start a toll free number people can call to report underage drinking or parties.

Another town hall meeting is set for next Thursday at the Derby Middle School.

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