April 7, 2016

Teens confront underage drinking

By Jerry W. Kram

"We’ve had classmates who have died," said Mia Gutierrez. "That’s why we have to do something."

Gutierrez is the president of the Parshall NATIVE Youth Council, a group of Parshall teens chosen for their leadership skills. The Youth Council recently held a town hall meeting so they could talk to adults in the community about the problem underage drinking poses in the community. The other members of the group are Wynter Deane, Bryana Old Rock, Colton Hall, Mireya Mancera, Billie Jo Myrick, and Journey Celo.

"Underage drinking happens here a lot," said Deane, who is vice president of the group. "People get into car accidents. Drinking causes death and hospital stays and other bad stuff. It happens all around the rez and everywhere. We have to take a stand and make it stop. We need to involve the community to do that. This is the biggest issue we have."

The youth council members were blunt with the adults who showed up at the meeting. They said just about every student in Parshall knows who to go to get alcohol and far too many students do just that. They said that even students as young as 12 could find an adult who would be willing buy them booze. Sometimes it is older siblings "doing a favor" and sometimes it is an adult who will make the purchase for a little extra money.

"We need the parents too," Deane said. "We need them to be involved with their kids so they can do better stuff than just drinking."

The Weather Network