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  San Diego County Teen Groups Protest Clothing That Promotes Drugs, Underage Drinking

​“I won’t wear it, I won’t buy it” was the message more than a dozen San Diego County students gave during a recent press conference protesting the pro-drug and underage drinking messages printed on clothing sold in local stores.

Teen groups from throughout San Diego County joined forces to protest local and national retailers that sell clothing with messages that joke about underage drinking and drug use.

According to Deb Pint, Project Specialist for Student Support Services at the County Office of Education, “Sometimes parents don’t see the forest through the trees. When shopping for their teens it’s important for parents to pay attention to what their kids are buying and wearing.”

The press conference held at the San Diego County Office of Education encouraged students and parents not to purchase clothing with messages like “All the cool kids go to rehab.” The students showcased more than 10 samples of clothing, purchased from local businesses, that featured pro-drinking and pro-drug messages.

Teens from the Fallbrook Youth Prevention Group, San Dieguito Youth Partnership, South Bay Youth 4 Change, and Escondido Youth Voice spoke directly to their peers and chanted in unison, “Take a closer look, it’s not funny!”
“It’s sad to think that stores make a profit from clothing that send the wrong message to kids,” said Jocelyn Perez a 12th grader at Valley High School in the Escondido Union High District. “I hope that what we’re doing today will encourage our peers to take a stand and not support these stores.”

The students said the drug and alcohol messages are not an accurate representation of their generation, and they urged stores to remove such apparel from their shelves. Three specific companies were identified: Lucky Brand Jeans, Old Navy, and Pink Zone.

“A lot of my friends are involved with drugs and alcohol and it’s really affecting their futures,” said Karla Renschler, a student at Canyon Crest Academy in the San Dieguito Union High District. “I feel privileged to be a part of this group, and hopefully something will change.”

According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the San Diego Association of Governments, Criminal Justice Research Division each year approximately 5,000 people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking and 44% of all San Diego County Juvenile arrestees tested positive for marijuana.

“Schools will not allow students to wear these types of clothing on campus,” said Pint. “So it’s up to the consumers, more importantly the parents, to take a stand and stop buying these clothes for their children.”

In addition to the groups represented at the news conference, other youth organizations involved in the effort are the North Coastal Prevention Youth Coalition, Youth Advocacy Coalition, Latino Youth Council, and North City Prevention Coalition Teens in Action.