Letters to the editor (04/25/13)

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Alcohol can cloud judgement
Editor:
My name is Samantha Slatton and I am a junior at School of Dreams Academy in Los Lunas. We are planning and organizing a high school prom, which is a dance where everyone dresses up.
Some high school students think it is OK to drink on the night of the prom, but it is not.
Children and teens should not drink alcohol because it can cloud judgment. Also, drinking alcohol can cause liver disease and heart disease. Another reason not to drink alcohol is that it can cause slurred speech and lack of coordination.
Also, alcohol has many side effects like nausea, vomiting and hangovers which are not too pleasant. Finally, if a child or teen drinks, it can cause greater risk for developing problems with alcohol later in life.
The best way to stay out of trouble is to stay away from alcohol. Many teens have bottles of alcohol and will try to persuade you to have a drink.  Instead of taking that drink you should say, “No thank you” and simply walk away.
An easier way to avoid alcohol is to get in to sports or some other fun activity. Being active will keep your mind more focused and you won’t want to go party with a few friends.
Alcohol is not as good as everyone puts it out to be, so don’t waste your time. Instead, have fun in sports or something that’s more exciting.

Samantha Slatton
SODA student

Costs millions in expenses
Editor:
I am a junior at the School of Dreams Academy in Los Lunas. The junior class is organizing the first senior/junior prom this year.
We are concerned that some teens may think it is OK to drink on the nights of the prom.
One of the concerns about underage drinking is that young people who begin drinking before the age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence, and are two and half times more likely to become alcohol abusers than those that drink at 21.
Further, underage drinking costs the state of New Mexico millions of dollars in medical expenses. Finally, underage drinking in New Mexico leads to traffic crashes, violent crime, property crime and suicides.
As a member of the junior class at School of Dreams Academy, I feel that Valencia County should take certain steps to prevent underage drinking. First, educating the teens of Valencia County of the dangers of underage drinking should be the main priority. Providing a lot of information to each high school in Valencia County is essential.
Second, all parents in Valencia County should talk to their children about how unsafe it is to drink. Parents should also talk to their children about the legal consequences of what could happen to them if they drink.

Candice Baca
SODA student

Suffer social problems
Editor:
My name is Ciara Smith and I am currently a junior attending School of Dreams Academy in Los Lunas. My graduating class is planning the junior/senior prom with the help of our class sponsors, village of Los Lunas DWI Program and YDI (Youth Development Incorporated).
We, as a school, are concerned about the well being of students from not only our school, but from other schools as well who think that it is OK to partake in underage drinking.
With the help of the village of Los Lunas DWI Program and YDI’s, Keep Our Children Safe and Sober in Valencia County program, I have seen the causes and effects of drinking while underage. I also realize that the drinking laws that have been put forth are to protect us.
Studies show that young people who drink heavily may put themselves at risk for a range of potential health problems, including long-term thinking and memory skills, liver damage, stunted growth, and susceptibility and increased risk for many deadly diseases such as cancer.
Studies have also shown that students that drink have more absences than students that do not drink. The same study shows that students that drink also suffer from social problems, causing them to get into fights or not participate in youth activities.
Teenagers that partake in underage drinking are also likely to drink and drive, which not only endangers the teenager, but everyone around them as well.
With prom right around the corner, I truly appreciate the help and support of the community, the village of Los Lunas DWI Program and YDI to keep my peers and I safe while we enjoy ourselves on prom night. I hope that my peers will make the right decision to stay safe and away from alcohol on this special night.

Ciara Smith
SODA student

Leading cause of teen deaths
Editor:
I am a junior in School of Dreams Academy in Los Lunas. This year the juniors are organizing the high school prom.
Prom can be fun, but there is also a high risk of underage drinking. Many teens may feel it is OK to drink, especially on prom night, but it is not.
More and more kids start drinking at younger and younger ages. Right now, many children start drinking between sixth and eighth grades.  Further, underage drinking increases youth violence, traffic crashes, and high risk sex between ages 14-20.
In addition, underage drinking is the leading cause of teen death from car accidents. Finally, underage drinking costs New Mexico tax payers millions of dollars every year.
As a junior, and a member of this year’s prom committee, I would like to ask the leaders and legislators of Valencia County and New Mexico to take the necessary steps to keep teens safe on the night of prom.
First, there should be more law enforcement on prom night with checkpoints near the high schools. Second, provide alcohol awareness programs like Keep Our Children Safe and Sober in Valencia County in all high schools in New Mexico. Third, educate the adults in our communities about the dangers of underage drinking.

Brissa Sotelo
SODA student