The opening bell of the fight against underage drinking sounds Monday morning. Alvis Reeves and the Corsicana Coalition to Prevent Underage Drinking (CPUD) will be hosting a press conference at 10 a.m. Monday at the County Courthouse in Judge Alan Bristol’s courtroom.

The purpose of the conference is primarily education and prevention, Reeves said. The mantra of “Those who host lose the most” is targeted to adults in the community rather than minors.

“Fifty percent of high school seniors surveyed in Corsicana said they had consumed alcohol within the past thirty days,” Reeves said. “Our main focus for this campaign is those adults that provide youth access to alcohol ... be it parents, older siblings, or other adults. We want to educate them regarding the laws, penalties, health and safety issues plus how they can help prevent youth access.”

Those slated to speak include, State Rep. Byron Cook, Sheriff Leslie Cotten, Corsicana Police Chief G. M. Cox, Rev. Dairy Johnson, Asst. to V.P. of Student Services for Navarro College and pastor of the Bethlehem Baptist Church, Phil Watson, Executive Director of Drug Prevention Resources, Inc., Karalyn Humphries, Corsicana High School student and member of the Corsicana Crime Commission and Bristol.

Reeves hopes the strong community presence will urge those who host underage drinking parties to change their ways.

“We want to encourage adults to be alert and responsible with their children.”

The Corsicana Independent School District joined the fight against underage drinking by applying for and receiving grants from the state to fund education programs and a licensed chemical dependency counselor.

Local law enforcement is also placing heavy emphasis on the elimination of underage drinking with several vendor stings and ramped up patrol units targeting pasture parties.

Some of the penalties if caught selling or providing alcohol to a minor include jail time, a hefty fine and suspension of driving privileges.

Reeves hopes with the collaborative efforts in the city, the number of youths consuming alcohol will go down.

“We hope to have a good turnout Monday and we hope we can make a positive impact on the adults,” Reeves said.

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AJ Narasimhan can be reached via e-mail at ajn@corsicanadailysun.com

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