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Guest Editorial

Don't mess up school year with alcohol and drugs

SUNNYSIDE POLICE CHIEF ED RADDER

With the beginning of school already here, and local youths getting back together with their friends and all the after-school activities, I want to take just a few moments to share some "words of wisdom."

"Of the $13.9 billion in Washington state government spending in 1998, $1.5 billion (10%) was spent on services related to impacts of substance abuse."

"Approximately 79% of youths entering juvenile rehabilitation administration facilities (juvenile prison) have substance abuse related problems."-Abuse Trends in Washington State, 2003 report.

And the one that we intend to have the greatest improvement on is: "Only about a quarter of Washington state 8th, 10th and 12th graders perceive great risk from drinking one to two alcoholic drinks every day."-Abuse Trends in Washington State, 2003 report.

Just a few minutes ago I sent a message out to all of the Sunnyside police officers reminding them that it is their duty to enforce all alcohol violations. The belief that if officers catch you with booze they will just warn you and pour the booze out is something you need to get out of your mind. Unless there is a reason that the officer thinks is good enough to convince the police chief that it was necessary to "give the kid a warning," you will be arrested.

Not only will you be arrested, do not forget the impact that it will likely have on your participation in any extracurricular school activities, such as sports. If being able to drive a car is also important to you, remember that a minor in possession/consumption arrest will bring that to a screeching stop also.

If this sounds awfully tough to you, it isn't nearly as tough as one of us having to tell your mom or dad that you were killed in a car crash, or killed in a fight, after drinking. Or worse yet, being your parent and having to get that news from a police officer.

Have a great school year, and don't mess it up with alcohol or drugs.

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