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ABC Board speaks to students about drunk driving

VALLEY – Representatives of the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board returned to Valley High School Friday with an impactful message for students: “Under Age – Under Arrest.”

The program featured guest speakers, photos and videos to illustrate the dangers associated with underage drinking.

“The consumption of alcohol by Alabama residents under the age of 21 is at an all-time low, yet we still have teenagers dying due to poor choices,” said Dean Argo, Public Relations

Director for the ABC Board. “As a matter of fact, 80 percent of young people admit they have tried alcohol by the time they reach the eighth grade.”

Argo and his team of experts travel across the state each year to share their message with school students, church groups, and other organizations. Over the past 12 months, they have presented their program to more than 100 audiences.

“We are not here to scare you. Our job is to tell you the facts and provide information that will help you make the right decisions,” Argo told students. “If something we say prevents a tragedy involving just one person, it was worth us being here today.”

“The main advice I can give you is choose your friends wisely,” Argo added. “Avoid putting yourself in situations where the risks can rob you of your goals and dreams. Making good decisions will lessen the likelihood that you will become a future statistic.”

To illustrate their message, Argo’s team showed students a series of photos featuring high school students who lost their lives from poor decisions that led to drug and alcohol use. The program concluded with a video presentation showing the personal stories of two Alabama mothers who lost family members due to alcohol-related incidents.

Students were also asked to sign a pledge card stating that they “will live responsibly by abstaining from alcohol until the legal age of 21.”

“No one is going to call you or come to your house. This is simply an opportunity for you to make a commitment to abide by the law and remain alcohol-free as long as you are under the legal drinking age,” Argo said. “By signing this card, you are choosing to make the right decisions.”

“It is our responsibility as educators to go beyond the basic curriculum and provide our students with information to help them live productive lives,” added Valley High School Principal Dr. Sherry Ashe. “This was the second year the ABC Board has come to our campus, and we appreciate their time and effort on behalf of our children.”