ANDERSON COUNTY, TENN. May 1, 2023 – In Anderson County, many high schoolers are excited to begin a new chapter in their lives after graduation. This accomplishment calls for a celebration, but it is important that drugs and alcohol are not a part of the festivities. The ASAP Youth Ambassador Coalition (YAC), which consists of students from Anderson County, Clinton and Oak Ridge high schools, is encouraging other teenagers to be safe and sober this graduation.
ASAP Ambassadors are posting on social media to encourage youth not to consume alcohol or other drugs on graduation night as a part of the “I AM ONE” campaign. They are also discouraging parents from social hosting, which is providing alcohol and/or allowing underage drinking. Informational fans will also be passed out at Oak Ridge, Anderson County and Clinton High School graduations to inform parents and teens about driving under the influence and Tennessee’s Social Host Liability Law.
Underage drinking can easily end graduates’ lives after high school before they begin. One third of alcohol-related teen traffic fatalities occur between April and June, which is during graduation season. ASAP also wants to remind everyone that the dangers of underage drinking go past the road. Drinking impairs decision making, which can lead to decisions that cause harm and increase the risk of falls, drowning and violence. It also can increase the risk of being a victim of sexual assault, sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration has created the “Talk. They Hear You” campaign to provide parents with interactive tools to help parents, caregivers, educators and communities to get informed, be prepared and take action to prevent underage drinking and other drug use. For more information about the campaign, get other resources for parents and teens, or find out how your teen can join the ASAP Youth Ambassador Coalition go to ASAPofAnderson.org or email Jarod@ASAPofAnderson.org.
ASAP would like to extend a special thank you to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Tennessee Highway Safety Office for financial support of these efforts and to Anderson County, Clinton and Oak Ridge High Schools for their continued partnership with ASAP to help prevent and reduce substance misuse in Anderson County.