Parent-teen talk concerning alcohol recognized nationally

The CDC reports alcohol remains the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States.

It was one drink that led Jon Payne to four years of alcohol addiction.

It was also that same addiction that led him to helping others as a project manager for Impact Futures in Amarillo.

"My first drink was at age 12," Payne said. "It was at 13 when my addiction got out of control."

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and April 21 is considered 'PowerTalk 21' across the nation. One day set aside for parents and their teenagers to talk about the effects of alcohol.

"There's probably never a good time," LaViza Matthews of Impacts Futures said. "But parents play a vital role in the decision making of their children."

Matthews gives presentations within schools in Amarillo on the effects of alcohol. She said more than 50 percent of students claimed to have had talks with parents about substance abuse.

However, alcohol remains the most commonly used and abused drug among the young, because, "the more accessible means the bigger the problem," Matthews said.

Payne admits if it wasn't for run-ins with the law and health issues, he's not sure he would have reached the point of sobriety. Now 715 days sober his only addiction is to help others.

"He gives me hope," Matthews said.