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Be safe, prom partiers

Prom is a high school milestone and a time many teenagers remember fondly. But it also can go hand-in-hand with underage consumption of alcohol. When combined with late nights and driving cars to and from parties, the festive evening can quickly turn hazardous.

The Colorado Department of Human Services’ Office of Behavioral Health is urging smart choices and dialogue between parents and students in the days leading up to prom. The office has released an online video titled “How to Fail Prom” to help facilitate conversation.

“Prom season can generate a lot of pressure for teens. Unfortunately many teens attend parties where alcohol is accessible,” said Stan Paprocki, director of prevention and early intervention. “There are very real dangers associated with teen drinking, from serious health and safety concerns to trouble with the law. Having conversations about these issues is one of the best ways parents can keep their teens alcohol-free.”

According to latest data from the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, roughly one in four Colorado high school students reported binge drinking in the last 30 days. That equates to more than 53,000 high school students. In Southwest Colorado counties, 11.6 percent of teens ages 12 to 17 reported binge drinking in the last month, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. While teen binge drinking has declined in the last decade, Colorado still ranks ninth in the country.

To assist in alcohol-related conversations with students prior to prom, parents can visit www.SpeakNowColorado.org.

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