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      Take 'The Pledge,' fight underage drinking

      The Central New York group that does information and referrals on alcohol and drug abuse, is launching a new effort to fight underage drinking.

      Brad Finn, head of the Prevention Network, is urging families--parents and children--to talk about responsible alcohol use, and then sign a pledge to not be an abuser.

      We see too many stories about car crashes caused by underage drinkers, but Finn says the problem goes much further than accidents: Statistics suggest that for those who start drinking at age 14, there's a 40% chance of adult alcohol addiction; if they wait til age 21 the chances of addiction drop to 5%. Alcohol dependency translates into lost work time and family stress, as well.

      Finn says the pledge program is to encourage parents to talk to their children about alcohol, peer pressure and responsible drinking. Copies of the actual pledge will be available on the Prevention Network website soon.

      The Prevention Network is an education and information agency for Central New York, with referrals for help if needed. It is staffed by abuse prevention professionals Monday - Friday for walk in or phone help (315 471-1359)