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Latino Youth Council Working To Stop Minors From Getting Alcohol

Underage Drinking

Underage drinking is a problem in San Diego and across the country. Studies show kids who took their first drink before the age of 18 are 65 percent more likely to become alcoholics as adults.

Speak City Heights is a media collaborative aimed at amplifying the voices of residents in one of San Diego’s most diverse neighborhoods. (Read more)

Research also shows parents play a significant role influencing their kids.

Hoover High School students Judith Uriostegui and Angelica Esparza are literally the poster kids of a campaign to prevent teens from getting alcohol at neighborhood markets.

"Basically we want to get the word out that it is illegal for adults to purchase alcohol for youth," said Uriostegui, a member of Latino Youth Council.

"So this is just another way of like approaching parents and like asking them to be aware if it's legal or not, which it's not," said Esparza, also a Latino Youth Council member.

The Latino Youth Council worked with businesses, law enforcement and elected officials in City Heights for a year to launch their reusable bag campaign. The message is simple in any language: don't serve alcohol to minors.


"Actually within two and a half miles we have 10 elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school," said Mark Kassab, the owner of Murphy's Market.

It's not unusual for kids to wait outside a neighborhood market to convince an adult to buy alcohol.

"It all starts with us, if we are a responsible operator then we will avoid all the other problems out there," Kassab said.

Preventing young people from consuming alcohol is not a new message at Murphy's Market. Kassab says they have safety systems to prevent selling liquor to minors.

"Each time I scan a pack of cigarettes or scan a bottle of wine, liquor, beer it asks me have you asked for ID and I have to answer yes or no," he said.

But the bigger challenge maybe convincing adults to stop enabling kids. A Mothers Against Drunk Driving study shows nearly one out of four teens say their own parents supplied them with liquor. And a survey done by the Latino Youth Council found four out of 11 adults approached by teens agreed to buy alcohol for them.

"Personally I see it around school a lot," Uriostegui said. "That students would have a bottle of gatorade, but it wouldn't contain gatorade, it would contain some sort of alcohol."

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