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Students urged to stop and think about drinking

Area campaign focuses on preventing teen drinking at prom

Niskayuna eighth graders Rose Parisi (far right) and Olivia Kim, co-presidents of the local Medical Youth Alliance, deliver “Think, Don’t Drink” cards to Felthousen’s Florist in Schenectady.

Niskayuna eighth graders Rose Parisi (far right) and Olivia Kim, co-presidents of the local Medical Youth Alliance, deliver “Think, Don’t Drink” cards to Felthousen’s Florist in Schenectady. Submitted photo

— Students picking up their corsage for prom might notice a friendly reminder urging them to make responsible decisions.

The Alliance with the Medical Society of the State of New York is launching its annual “Think, Don’t Drink” campaign to heighten awareness among teens about the dangers of underage drinking. The Schenectady County Alliance chapter is distributing the cards urging students not to drink to local florists and schools to give to students. The campaign is timed to coincide with proms and graduations held countywide.

Cheryl Stier, co-president of the Medical Alliance, said feedback on the program has been “extremely positive” since the campaign was started seven years ago.

“It is a visible reminder for kids to really think about the consequences of drinking,” Stier said. “We have been told by the high schools in Schenectady County that they look forward to the card every year.”

Stier, a Niskayuna resident, said schools rely on the message to reinforce and support efforts to prevent underage drinking. She said sometimes it only takes a visible reminder for a teen to change his or her mind.

“Underage drinking is a problem no matter what community you are discussing and I think education and awareness is probably the first step in beginning to deal with underage drinking,” Stier said.

There are also some younger students in Niskayuna leading the push for responsible decisions, too.

Niskayuna eighth graders Rose Parisi and Olivia Kin are the first co-presidents of the youth chapter of the Medical Alliance. This is the first year youth alliances were created across the country.

“We think it is important to raise awareness about health and making sure people understand the dangers of substance abuse,” Parisi said. “We also want teens to think and act responsibly.”

The “Think, Don’t Drink” campaign is one of the activities the group has taken part in this year. Parisi and Kim also helped distribute the cards to local florists. The state Alliance also partnered with Price Chopper to distribute cards to florists in its stores.

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