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Group Urges Parents To 'Have The Talk'

March 30, 2012, 6:04 PM by Brady Mallory

Group Urges Parents To 'Have The Talk'

A South Dakota group is urging you to have the talk with your kids about alcohol.  A grant from the South Dakota Department of Public Safety and Prairie View Prevention Services is making it easier for parents to prevent teen alcohol-related deaths.

The goal is to end underage drinking and driving, but this group is not focused just on reaching out to teens.

"Our target is parents because they matter.  They make the difference," Darcy Jensen with Parents Matter said.

Making a difference might be easier this year.  Jensen said the Parents Matter Campaign is joining 160 schools, including universities and colleges, across the state.  The campaign's video and brochures urge parents to talk to their kids about alcohol before it is too late.

"Having seen the personal tragedies and having seen the pain and suffering of a parent, a brother, a sister and grandparents with the senseless death of a child is a reminder to all of us," Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said.

In the last six years, 57 South Dakota teens have died in alcohol-related crashes and 645 have been injured.  According to Jensen, the campaign is getting more parents involved with their kids.

"In the last year, we had only one alcohol-related death because of them drinking and driving.  In Lincoln County, there hasn't been a death since 2006," Jensen said.

A video features law enforcement and parents who have had 'the talk' with their kids.

"I said, 'Jara and Garrett, drinking while driving or riding with someone who has been drinking is unacceptable,'" a mother in the video said.

Personal stories like this one are key tools to inspire more moms and dads to keep this conversation going.

"I think if you talk to every police officer who has made that long walk up to the sidewalk to tell a parent their son or daughter is never coming home again, I think they would tell you most of these accidents are preventable," Milstead said in the video.

With prom and graduations right around the corner, April and May statistically have the highest number of teen deaths.

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