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Public service video gives teens the truth about underage drinking

Even though there is only one month of summer remaining before the start of school, many teens across Pennsylvania are making the most of their remaining vacation time, working extra shifts, taking trips to the lake and, of course, hanging out with friends. However, it is this last element that is the most concerning to many parents as it can sometimes translate into opportunities for underage drinking.

Accordingly, it's important for teens to understand the applicable laws relating to underage consumption of alcohol. However, this doesn't just mean a broad explanation of Pennsylvania DUI laws.

For example, most teens may not know that last fall state lawmakers passed a Good Samaritan law, which states that an underage drinker who calls 911 to acquire help for someone whom they believe is suffering from alcohol abuse or alcohol poisoning has immunity from arrest/prosecution.

Interestingly, a group of teenagers on the Main Line recently produced a popular public service announcement on YouTube discussing alcohol poisoning and the state's new Good Samaritan law.

"We designed it to figure out how much teens know about the signs of alcohol poisoning," said one of the teens involved in the making of the film. "We found that a really upsetting number of people don't know the signs. I myself didn't know all the signs."

Indeed, the video shows how teens should be on the lookout for such signs as an inability to stay awake, incoherent speech, excessive sweating and a flushed face, to name a few.

Regarding the Good Samaritan law, the video is designed to help teens overcome their fear of getting in trouble for underage drinking and calling for help.

"A lot of people are usually scared to call whenever someone's drunk, and they don't want to be caught doing something wrong" said one of the teens in the PSA.

The video is already winning praise from a number of health professionals, including one local doctor who is airing the video in her waiting room for both younger patients and parents to see.

Source: WPVI-TV, "Student-made video warns about underage drinking," Lisa Thomas-Laury, July 17, 2012

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