New methods are needed to get the attention of teens about the dangers of drinking, a student leader says.
HOWLAND -- Underage drinking is a "huge problem" at Howland High School, says Brian Taillon, a Howland senior.
But Taillon has been trying to do something to curb that problem.
Taillon is president of Howland's Students Against Drunk Driving chapter, which works to educate students about the dangers of alcohol while sponsoring activities that can be an alternative to drinking.
Those activities include a Sadie Hawkins dance students could have attended earlier this year instead of going to a weekend party. The chapter also brought a hearse to the school to show students what could happen if they drink and drive, and Taillon said about 30 percent of Howland students signed the prom promise this year.
The chapter had encouraged students to sign the promise, which states the student will not drink during prom weekend.
"I think it's really successful," Taillon said of the chapter's efforts.
Yet he also said he feels SADD and similar organizations still need to find more creative ways to get their anti-drinking messages across to students.
"Their message isn't sincere anymore," Taillon said, adding that the "Don't Drink and Drive" slogan has been so commercialized that today's students don't take it seriously. He estimated about 40 percent of Howland students drink at parties on the weekends.
Impact: Many of those students do not fully understand the effects of alcohol, Taillon said, and as a result, they may get behind the wheel after drinking.
Taillon said he thinks the organizations should try to create mentoring and peer mediation programs to get their message out. Students in the programs could discuss their decisions about alcohol with an adult or fellow student, he said.