Campaign in the Pee Dee to target underage drinking

Florence County Coalition on Alcohol and Other Drugs and Circle Park Behavioral Health Services launched their fight against underage drinking campaign Tuesday.

The organizations gave Florence County Law Enforcement a sneak peek at the commercials and billboards that will be used in the campaign.

Circle Park says research shows that nearly 70% of all high school students will participate in underage drinking.

It also says 20% of all alcohol consumed in this country is done so by underage drinkers.

"I think when you look at the statistics our community would be shocked to see the amount of drinking that exists. We're trying so hard to make parents realize the influence they have," said Richard Sale with Florence County Coalition.

The campaign targets educating parents on the dangers of underage drinking.

Circle Park says underage drinking can cause alterations in the structure and function of the developing brain which continues to mature into the mid 20's.

The organizations say parents play a major role in teaching their children to not to give in to peer pressure.

"I hope parents will get the message clear because some of the experiences that I have had in dealing with parents, they're trying so hard to be friends. And neglecting their responsibilities of being a parent," explained Sale.

Circle Park says social media plays a role in underage drinking.

It says parents need to educate themselves on the powerful influence of social media on youth culture and to communicate clear guidelines on how to responsibility participate in social media.

The organizations media campaign kicked off Tuesday and will also include compliance checks of Florence merchants, police increasing patrols near teen parties and public safety checkpoints at local high school football games.