Olympic athletes help launch campaign aimed at preventing underage drinking

PARK CITY – Olympic athletes from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team are joining forces with the group called Parents Empowered on a mission to prevent underage drinking.

Public Service Announcement ads feature Olympic athletes from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team warning teens about the dangers of underage drinking.

It’s part of a new campaign they launched Wednesday with Parents Empowered – a group that has worked with the community over the past 10 years to prevent underage drinking.

“Alcohol has destroyed and will destroy a lot of people’s dreams," Art Brown said.

Their studies show:

  • 67% of kids who drink before age 15 try other illicit drugs
  • Parents often talk to their kids about alcohol two years too late
  • Parent involvement in children’s lives drops by half between 6th and 12th grades

“This is something that is real personal for me,” said Spencer Cox, Utah's Lieutenant Governor.

Cox lost a high school friend to underage drinking.

“It’s something that has haunted me and my friends our entire lives," he said.

Cox said parents need to talk to their kids before it’s too late. While 91% of Utah parents surveyed said monitoring their child’s activities could reduce underage drinking, only 36% of parents said they would do something about it.

“That’s alarming to me,” said Wade Carpenter, Park City Police Chief. “Unfortunately, alcohol and drug abuse have created tragedy in our community and we recognize that; we’ve always taken a zero tolerance approach.”

Jake Thomas, Park City Mayor, says a parent’s permissiveness about underage drinking could put them at risk later in life.

“Somehow we don’t think that some of these issues relate to us, that we’re above it or beyond it, and we’re not," he said.

Advocates agree the community can step in to support parents, so everybody wins.

For more information about Parents Empowered, click here.