Queen Creek parents encouraged to talk to teens about underaged drinking

Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney signed a proclamation declaring April 21 Talk to Your Teen About the Dangers of Underage Drinking Day, part of a national campaign that encourages parents to talk to their kids about alcohol.

In an effort to properly equip parents and caregivers with the necessary tools for the conversation, Mothers Against Drunk Driving is offering a free handbook, “Power of Parents.” The document provides guidance for talking with teens about the dangers of drinking before age 21, and is based on research to reduce underage drinking by up to 30 percent, according to a press release.

In addition to supporting the national campaign, the town partnered with the Queen Creek Unified School District and several other organizations to offer Operation Prom at the Queen Creek High School.

On Wednesday, April 20, juniors and seniors witnessed a simulated alcohol-related vehicular incident involving four students. With the sound of sirens, students observed the realistic and tragic outcomes of an incident caused by drinking and driving.

One individual was taken by ambulance while another was extricated from the vehicle and airlifted. The intoxicated driver was assessed for injuries and arrested while the other driver was declared deceased at the scene.

Narrated by Queen Creek Fire and Medical Department Deputy Fire Chief Vance Gray, the simulation demonstrated the serious risks of drinking and driving, and the devastating impact on first responders, loved ones and the community. After the simulation, Judge Sam Goodman of the San Tan Justice Court explained the legal ramifications followed by a presentation by the Department of Public Safety and a personal experience shared by a survivor.

“It is so important that we are willing to have these important conversations with our youth,” Mayor Barney said in the release. “The town council and I greatly appreciate our partners who make demonstrations like Operation Prom possible, and a special thank you to the Queen Creek Unified School District for making the safety of our youth a priority.”

The collaborative effort involved the following partners: Shamrock Towing/FAST Towing, Queen Creek High School drama students, Queen Creek Fire and Medical Department, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office District 6 – Queen Creek, AMR, PHI/Air Evac, Gilbert Fire and Rescue Department, Bueler Mortuary, the Department of Public Safety and Judge Goodman.

To download the free handbook or for more information about MADD, visit the MADD website.

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