Health Officials Addressing Underage Drinking in Worcester Count - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Health Officials Addressing Underage Drinking in Worcester County

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

SNOW HILL, Md.- Officials with the Worcester County Health Department are expressing concern after the county ranked first in the state of Maryland for underage binge drinking in a recently published national youth risk behavior study. 

The health department is now conducting a survey to address the alarming rank. 

In Snow Hill, Mary Worthington was not surprised to hear that Worcester County has an underage drinking problem. 

"There just doesn't seem to be a whole lot for kids to do around here. I mean there's a lot of outdoor activities. This is a wonderful area, but they don't really focus on the teenagers and keeping them busy," Worthington said. 

Marty Pusey, director of prevention services for the Worcester County Health Department, said the study results surprised her. Pusey said the health department is urging parents and teens to complete an online survey to ease underage alcohol access. 

"We're trying to find out how accessible is alcohol, and if they have actually used alcohol in the past 30 days, how did they get it? How did they access it?" Pusey said. 

Pusey does not only want to hear from teens; she also wants to hear from their parents. 

"Just have a conversation with your young person and say, 'I would really like you not to use alcohol,'" Pusey said. 

Worthington said it is not always an easy conversation to have. 

"There needs to be more outreach to the parents," she said. "I think the parents have a hard time talking to teenagers, and knowing what they should be saying and how to direct them."

Teens and parents have until Friday to complete the survey. 

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