Springfield attorney Kurt Larson started the program nine years ago as a way to keep Southwest Missouri teenagers safe during prom and graduation season. A Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) grant of $130,000 allowed the program to expand this year to schools across the state and to reach middle school students as well.
“I’m so pleased that 153 Missouri high schools are participating,” said Larson. “The best part is the message is reaching 76,897 students, and that’s in addition to their parents and countless middle school students who will be mentored by upperclassmen. We hope Missouri Safe and Sober will be the catalyst for changing the culture of underage drinking in this state.”
Missouri Safe and Sober offers participating schools free videos that bring students real stories of how a night of drinking can turn deadly. Other videos target parents and remind them why talking with their teens about drug and alcohol use is so important. Students will receive pledge cards they can sign as they promise to stay sober, and they will also get tips on coping with peer pressure.
Mercy is the operational home for Missouri Safe and Sober. “We see the consequences of alcohol use and alcohol-related traumatic injuries in our trauma center every day,” said Mark Peck, Mercy Springfield injury prevention outreach coordinator. “So many of these terrible injuries and deaths can be prevented, and that’s our goal.” For more information about the program, visit http://www.missourisafeandsober.com