ABC anti-underage drinking assembly educates local students

Published 9:46 am Monday, April 23, 2018

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The Alcohol Beverage Control Board (ABC) of Alabama conducted an Anti-Underage Drinking Program assembly at Greenville High School (GHS) on Thursday. Butler County juniors and seniors attended the program hearing from many state and city officials. Influential in the organization of the event, Guidance Counselor Todd Henderson said, “The program was organized by the GHS Guidance Office. […] Georgiana High School was bused up to join us as well. McKenzie was invited but, due to conflicts, they couldn’t attend. We plan to make this an annual event hosted by GHS.” Dean Argo, the manager of government relations and communications for the Alabama ABC Board, led the program, educating the students on the dangers associated with underage drinking. Argo impressed upon the students, “We need to make sure you understand that you are not invincible even though you may think that you are. You might think that the decisions you make only affect yourself, they don’t, they affect others.” City guests in attendance included, Mayor Dexter McClendon, Representative Chris Sells, and Police Chief Lovvorn. William Thigpen, the assistant administrator for the Alabama ABC Board and members from the state bureau of investigations were in attendance as well.

The assembly was in alliance with the Alabama ABC Board’s campaign, “Under Age, Under Arrest.” Launched in response to a growing problem in Alabama, the campaign educates parents and children about the risk factors and dangers behind underage drinking and driving under the influence. Argo added, “That’s one of the things that I love about this program is that we all know what the law is so we don’t have to educate you on the law. What we do need to do is put faces on victims.” Partnering with groups that have a history of working with students, the assembly included a testimony from Lauryn Simmons, a member of one non-profit organization, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Simmons shared her testimony with the students, explaining, “I never thought it would happen to me.” Ending the program, Police Chief Lovvorn spoke to the students shedding some light on the positive aspects of law enforcement. Lovvorn said, “The police are there to help you. We are there to look out for you.” Lovvorn also shared his future, proactive plan to start a new program for youth at the Greenville Police Department. He said, “I am starting a program in just about 4 months for young adults 18 and younger, strictly through the police department. It is not a punishment. It will involve physical activity […] there also will be mentoring and professional career development, and we will focus on law enforcement. We will go side by side.” Expanding on the seriousness of the issue, Lovvorn added, “You guys are the future. I don’t want that to be just a phrase or a term. You need to realize you are setting an example right now. […] It’s not just words we are trying to tell you to waste time to fill your day with. All these things have weight and we ask you take it into account.”

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