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Dec 24, 2002

Drivers urged to lay off booze

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It is the downside of Christmas…the sudden switch from merriment to horror as word is received that a loved one has been killed or injured in a traffic accident…an accident that more likely than not was caused by a drunk driver. To spare Belizeans such tragedy was the mission of one organisation that hit the road this morning.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Christmas eve may be Belize’s most hectic day of the year, but that did not stop the task force of the National Drug Abuse Control Council from walking the streets to remind motorists about drinking and driving. It’s not the first time that NDACC has been on the educational trail, but it was refreshing to see that the drivers did not mind stopping to receive the pamphlets and actually took the time to read the information.

Karen Bodden, Belize District Coordinator, NDACC

“Tremendous response. People are asking questions, people are actually stopping to read the flyers in our presence, people are actually saying to us, you are doing a good job because young people need to know. Everyone seems to agree with us that the youth population especially, needs to be educated.”

Karen Bodden, NDACC’s Belize District Coordinator, says they have become increasingly concerned about the high number of young women and men who drink regularly with the sole purpose of getting drunk.

Karen Bodden

“Because what we have found out is that our young people are having a very serious problem with alcohol. So we have set out to create awareness among parents, as well as the youth population of Belize. We want them to know the facts about alcohol and so in addition to our regular flyers, we have also prepared little items for young people, drug free activity books, the drug free pins so they can be reminded about what it is all about. We have an additional flyer about the facts of alcohol, so it has become a little bit more extensive.”

…And it seems that the drinking problem is being made worse by the addition of another drug.

Karen Bodden

“This year the drug council received quite a number of visits from concerned parents whose children have a serious alcohol problem. Several of these cases had to be transferred to the psychiatric unit, because another concern of the council is that young people are now mixing alcohol with marijuana, which can be deadly. And so this campaign will be continuous throughout the new year.”

Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

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