TYLER - While everyone is getting ready to watch the big game on Sunday, one East Texas group is working to stop underage drinking.
The East Texas Substance Abuse Coalition launched its first annual ‘Don’t Provide East Texas’ campaign.
According to Susan Anderson, the coalition coordinator, alcohol is the substance most abused by East Texas teens. The average East Texan has their first sip of alcohol by the time they are 13.
Anderson says 65 percent of teens get their alcohol from friends or family.
“If alcohol is left in the refrigerator or places in the house that are unattended a lot of times teenagers or minors can have access to them,” said Anderson.
She went on to say that game day can be especially risky because of how readily available alcohol is.
Steve Tucker, the store manager at the Walmart on Troup Highway in Tyler, said his store sees a large spike in alcohol sales on the day of the big game.
“As far as alcohol sales for Super Bowl it’s one of our biggest days,” said Tucker.
Walmart is just one of the partners in the “Don’t Provide East Texas’ campaign. The store is placing warning signs on all alcohol aisles. Chick-fil-A is placing similar stickers on the restaurant’s to-go bags.
With a push so big, the coalition had to ask for the help of East Texas youth.
Students at Cumberland Academy Middle School volunteered their time after school to place the stickers on the bag.
“We’re spreading the awareness of how drugs and alcohol can actually affect you and ruin your life,” said 8th grader Emily Davidson.
Anderson says the student are not just helping with the campaign, they’re also learning the negative effects alcohol can have on a developing child.
Teens at the Smith County Juvenile Services Detention Center are also pitched in by putting the stickers on to-go bags.
Many of them said they are glad they can still be part of the community even behind bars.
“I would like to help all the young kids to not make the mistakes that I made and not drink because it’s bad for you,” said one of the teens.
Others told CBS19 they wish their parents would have warned them about the dangers of drinking.
“If you haven’t tried it, don’t try it at all. That’s what I would say,” said one of the teens.
© 2018 KYTX-TV