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MADD Partners of Youth provides alcohol education

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TYLER (KYTX) - Nearly 5,000 people under 21-years-old die each year from alcohol related crashes, homicides, poisoning and injuries.

CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey shows us how the Tyler Municipal Court and Mothers Against Drunk Driving East Texas are partnering to lessen the blow of alcohol and drugged driving in East Texas.

The message being told through the "Partners for Youth" program is clear: drunk or impaired driving is never okay.

"From the top of my head to the tip of my toes, everything was ripped open," said Patti Foster. In June of 2002 the car she and three other people were sitting in was hit by a big rig driver going 70 miles per hour.

Pointing out her injuries she said, "It's very much like someone put their hand  in there and ripped all of that back so it's just raw flesh there and it was crushed in."

One person was killed, two were injured, and doctors thought Patti would die too, but she lived.

"My body went down to the  ground and skidded some 30 stories on the highway and stopped in  a lane of traffic," said Foster.

By foster telling her story of survival to a room of juvenile and young adult alcohol offenders organizers hope it will spur a change that would cut out underage or risky alcohol consumption.

"Alcohol effects our brains our bodies, and that' part of the  information we learn today," said MADD program specialist Kellie Martinez.

For about six years, Partners for Youth has been able to educate young alcohol or drug offenders.

"It's very rare we seen repeat offender, most of the time they take the information they're provided and apply it to their life," she said.

When the alcohol course is finished, each participant gets a certificate. In addition to the alcohol education classes offered, courses on tobacco and drugs are also available through out the year.

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