Town hall meeting to address underage drinking

CONYERS -- Several groups are coming together this week to help prevent underage drinking and drunken driving.

From 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, middle and high school age students and their parents are invited to an Underage Drinking Town Hall Meeting at Edwards Middle School, which is located at 2633 Stanton Road in Conyers. It is open to the public.

"Sometimes (youth) don't think about how important choices are," said Debbie McNamara, a sponsor of the Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter at Edwards Middle School. "You always have a choice, and the choices you make not only impact your life, but the lives of others, forever."

At the event, guests will hear from representatives of SADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Georgia Underage Drinking Prevention Initiative, The Council on Alcohol and Drugs and the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office. They also will watch a video and hear from a panel that includes a 19-year-old who has been arrested for DUI and Corry McNamara, Debbie's 22-year-old daughter who will speak about her father Michael, who was killed by a drunk driver in Gwinnett County when she was 13 years old.

"I never in a million years thought it could happen to me," said Debbie McNamara. "We can eliminate this. It would be so awesome if it happened no more."

A question-and-answer session also will be featured. Free refreshments will be served.

McNamara hopes events like these will provide a "cure" to underage drinking and drunk driving.

"It's hard sometimes to stand up, but it's really important because it only takes one time, one bad decision," she said. "Choices matter."