Good time.
Good time.

Under-age drinking blitz

ORGANISERS of a youth dance in Grafton on Friday night brought in a breathalyser and a metal detector as a precaution.

Security guards used the breathalyser and detector to screen teenagers as they entered the Youth Centre Group dance ? the first ? at the Grafton indoor sports centre.

More than 350 people under 18 years of age went to the drug and alcohol-free event, which was organised by the Youth Centre Group and the Community Drug Action Team.

Clarence Valley Council community development worker Carolyn Wilkes believes it will take time to stop under-age drinking.

"Under-age drinking is happening," she said.

"It will take time to stop kids from drinking, but we will keep giving the message that dinking alcohol is not accepted."

Aimee, 15, said she learnt her lesson from the last under-18 disco.

"The last time, we got into trouble because we were drinking," she said.

"We got breath-tested and they rang our parents ? Mum was really strict about it."

Aimee said she estimated half of the people at the dance had consumed alcohol.

"Everyone is tripping over themselves," she said.

Josh, 17, said he was not allowed inside the stadium because he arrived late.

"It (under-age drinking) isn't that bad," he said.

"They buy it themselves, or get it off their mates who are over 18."

Nikole said she blew 0.22 in the breathalyser when she ar- rived at 5pm.

"Drinking is okay so long as you don't do anything stupid," she said.

Nikole said the security guards refused her entry and she stayed outside the stadium.

"They wouldn't let me in because they thought I was drunk," she said.

"They breathalysed everyone."

Nikole said she travelled to Grafton because her town did not hold any events for young people.

Sergeant Patrick Swift, of Grafton police, said the dance was not the problem.

"It is the kids hanging outside the disco which cause the problems," he said.

Sgt Swift said many parents did not know what their children were doing.

"The parents would care if they knew," he said.

"The kids say they are staying at a friend's house."

A boy, 17, said he smuggled alcohol into the dance.

"I taped shots, a bottle of Bacardi and a sack of goon to me and wore a big jumper from St Vinnies," he said.

Towards the end of the dance at midnight, a Daily Examiner reporter saw several groups of youths walking around in Prince, Turf and Oliver streets.

"There is a lot of kids out tonight," ZSS Security guard at Black Toyota, Prince Street, Glen Wright said.

Mr Wright, pointing to a car load of young people, said: And a lot of idiots driving by like that.

A mother, waiting to pick up her 15-year-old daughter from the dance, said: She just doesn't drink. She has a good time without it.

Ms Wilkes said empty bottles of alcohol were found inside the dance venue but there were no major incidents ? people under the influence sat in a cool-off area.

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