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N.C. First Lady Helps Launch Campaign Against Underage Drinking

First Lady Mary Easley on Tuesday joined a national campaign to help prevent underage drinking.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina First Lady Mary Easley on Tuesday joined the nations' highest medical officer to announce a nationwide campaign to help reduce underage drinking.

Acting U.S. Surgeon General Kenneth P. Moritsugu has issued a booklet entitled "The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking," which outlines ways to help educate parents and children about the dangers.

Among them, Easley said, are tips for parents on talking and listening to teens about the issue.

"When I say talk, I don't mean lecture to them or preach to them," Easley said. "I mean, tell them what the true facts are, which are scientifically indicated by all the research."

A 2005 youth risk behavior survey conducted in North Carolina by the Centers for Disease Control found that 69 percent of high-school students had at least one alcoholic drink during their life; 21 percent had their first drink back age 13; and that 23 percent have had five or more drinks in a row, which is considered binge drinking.

Studies also show that 16- to 24-year-olds are involved in 28 percent of all alcohol-related car accidents, yet the age group makes up only 14 percent of the population.

The Triangle-area has had a number of alcohol-related crashes where young people died. Sunday marked the one-year anniversary in which four Wakefield High School students lost their lives while returning from a sporting event in Greenville. A medical examiner's report showed two of the teens, including the driver, had been drinking alcohol.

Easley is expected to go to Wakefield later this month when she will meet with students about making wise decisions.

Copies of "The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking," and other related materials are available on Surgeon General's Web site or by calling the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 800-729-6686.

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