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Coalition to Stop Underage Drinking Receives $200K

The non-profit is a county-wide collaborative effort.

Concerned parents and police have something to celebrate this St. Patrick's Day. 

The Unified Prevention Coalition joined up with the Fairfax County Police Department to use a recently received $200,000 state grant to find ways to reduce underage drinking.

Capt. Bruce Ferguson, a UPC board member and commander of the Fairfax County Police Youth Services Division, said grant money will help the coalition get better data, improve enforcement and raise awareness among parents.

"You parents are key to any decision (your children) makes. We need to change that complacency as parents that says I did it and I turned out okay," Ferguson said.

Drinking can lead to car accidents, sexual assault, bad decisions like putting embarrassing pictures on the Internet, and other long-lasting effects.

"Give your children expectations. I tell them don't drink it's not acceptable," Ferguson said of his six daughters.

Where do teenagers get alcohol? At home. Over 65 percent of the alcohol comes from the home, said Diane Eckert, executive director of the coalition.

"The younger you start drinking heavily, the more prone you are to becoming an alcohol abuser in your late 20's," she said.

The Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County is an incorporated non-profit organization which works to battle underage drinking. Its membership includes Fairfax County Public Schools, parents, police and community members. 

Click here to learn more and get involved.

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