Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities Rise During Prom and Graduation Season

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Prevention of underage drinking means saving the lives of students

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released data from its Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) showing that alcohol-related fatalities increase between the middle of April and the middle of June. What's significant about these time periods? It happens to be when teenagers tend to do a lot of partying, namely prom and graduation.

“Alcohol is one of the most difficult drugs to combat, especially with youth,” comments Gary Smith, who is Executive Director of Narconon Arrowhead, “Being a legal drug that is easily obtained, clear and effective prevention and education measures must be taken.”

Narconon Arrowhead is one of the nation’s largest and most successful drug rehabilitation and education programs and it uses the drug-free methodology developed by American author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard. Located near the center of the country, Narconon Arrowhead provides drug education presentations to tens of thousands of young people in several states each year.

The Fatality Analysis Reporting System data showed that in the year 2000, 58% of traffic fatalities were alcohol-related during the prom and graduation period. This compares with 41% for the rest of the year. In addition, 36% of all alcohol-related traffic fatalities are young people between the ages of 15 and 20, below the legal age to consume alcoholic beverages.

This data shows that more work needs to be done on the education and prevention front. This being said, April is national Alcohol Awareness month and the message must be delivered, alcohol is a drug and it costs Americans too much time, money, lives and grief for us not to make a stand.

Advertisements from alcoholic beverage companies specifically market to our nation's youth, depicting a fun atmosphere, good-looking people and sometimes a picture of total irresponsibility, making it appealing for rebellious or thrill-seeking teenagers.

"Nobody starts using drugs or alcohol with the intent of becoming addicted or loosing their lives," exclaims Smith, "Many do continue down that road though and some are fortunate enough to get the help they need."

To find help for a loved one suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, visit or or call 1-800-468-6933.

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Luke Catton