Taking a hard look at underage drinking in the Tri-State - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Taking a hard look at underage drinking in the Tri-State

Lillian Harrison of Evansville sits at a round table discussion during the Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking Tuesday night. Lillian Harrison of Evansville sits at a round table discussion during the Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking Tuesday night.
EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) -

Dozens of Evansville teens and parents met for a town hall style meeting Tuesday at Central Library in downtown Evansville.

National statistics show a 16-year-old is more likely to die from an alcohol-related problem than any other cause. The earlier kids start drinking , the more likely they can develop brain tissue damage.

The strongest message in Tuesday meeting: preventing underage drinking starts with the parents.  

Teens joined parents and city leaders to talk about the consequences, dodging peer pressure, and for Lillian Harrison, how to overcome it.

Harrison had a rough childhood. Her mom was an alcoholic, often leaving her to care for the rest of the family. She too picked up drinking. 

"I thought it was normal for the parent to be out of it all the time," Harrison told us. "So I thought, huh, if she can do it, so can I. It seems to like numb her and say things and do things without having any conscious. I tried it and it wasn't for me."

Now at 17-years-old, she leads a clean life. During the meeting her peers hugged her, telling Lillian they were proud of her after she got tears in her eyes sharing her story to the crowd.

"After everything with my mom, I called my Dad one day when my mom gave me a choice: accept this or get out," said Harrison. "I chose to get out, and, my Dad-he helped me. He got me a therapist, he showed me how I'm supposed to be treated.  I deserved the things-that I deserved to be loved, and I am important."

She's seen first-hand how parents can affect their child's habits. The earlier parents start talking to kids, the better.

"Look at what you can become," Harrison said as she pointed to her self. "Give them alternatives. Instead of going out drinking, well, why don't you go out and play laser tag instead?"

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