Our View: Community responsibility

In April, two men died in accidents in which alcohol is suspected to be a factor.

One of those men was younger than 21.

It's devastating to think that a poor decision to drink and drive took the lives of a teenager with so much of his life left to live and a man who left a family behind.

At least 600 motorists across the state made the foolish decision to get behind the wheel after drinking last weekend.

Alcohol use is a complicated issue, one which we think no one has the answer to. Underage drinkers choose to break the law regularly, and even those old enough to drink get behind the wheel after drinking too much.

We don't expect anyone to stop underage drinking. It's an ongoing issue we must tackle as a community.

Youths are exposed often to alcohol -- they see their friends do it, they see their parents do it, they see it on TV. It surrounds them, and many succumb to the pressure to drink.

We think prevention of underage drinking starts at home. We urge parents not to allow their children or their friends to consume alcohol at their homes -- doing so may lead to hefty fines. Plus, youths learn habits from their parents. And if their parents are binge drinkers, it's likely children will be binge drinkers, too.

We're not advocating not drinking at all -- many people like a glass of wine with dinner or a cocktail with friends. We're suggesting moderation. Teens look up to adults for guidance in their own lives.

And alcohol use is a community issue, too.

Earlier this month, Grand Futures Prevention Coalition hosted a forum about underage drinking. The majority of those who attended were with law enforcement agencies or the Moffat County School District. We commend those officials for taking a stand.

We also commend law enforcement officers for addressing the issue of drinking and driving during Memorial Day weekend. DUIs are an issue for residents of all ages. Often, charges and fines are the only deterrents.

We are impressed by local restaurants and liquor stores, which are rarely cited during compliance checks. Not serving or selling to underage drinkers, and cutting off those who have drank too much, are important moves to decreasing these problems.

We understand these issues -- underage drinking and drinking and driving -- will never go away. But community awareness and action can help cut down on problems that have taken two men's lives in one month.

Personal responsibility and common sense are the beginning of a solution. Drink in moderation. Get home safely -- call a friend, take a taxi. Just use your head, and maybe save a life.

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