Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Town hall puts focus on underage drinking in our communities

Marilyn Green
for The Boone Standard

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Town Hall meeting took place to raise community awareness and to educate the community on underage drinking because 1,700 students lose their lives yearly due to alcohol-related deaths.

Alcohol kills more than drugs. The problem begins at a Middle School level. How can we prevent alcohol and drug abuse? We need the parents and the young people to attend these meetings.

One member of the panel asked, "How can we compete with this problem? We don't have the answer. But Stopwatch is at work for the answer."

April 7, 2008, the Stop Watch Coalition of Regional Family Resource Network sponsored an Underage Drinking Prevention meeting at the Madison Civic Center to raise awareness of the risks of underage drinking.

The meeting is a national effort by Interagency Coordinating Committee for the Prevention of Underage Drinking (ICCPUD) to inform youth, parents, caregivers, and other adults about the harmful effects of underage drinking. The goal of the Town Hall meetings is to help educate young people and caring adults about the risks associated with underage drinking during the month of April, which is Alcohol Awareness Month.

The most recent data available reveals that in Boone County, youth alcohol use (at least once per month) is 31.4 percent, compared to the West Virginia state rate of 29.3 percent; youth alcohol use (beer at least once a month) is 25.7 percent compared to the state rate of 24.3 percent; youth alcohol use (wine coolers at least once a month) is 21.2 percent compared to the state rate of 18.4 percent; youth alcohol use (liquor at least once a month) is 22.5 percent compared to the state rate of 20.8 percent; youth alcohol use (Binge) is 18.1 percent and the WV state rate is 14.9 percent; and youth alcohol use (Ever Binged) is 35.3 percent and the state rate is 34.7 percent.

A Panel of local people spoke, a video was shown, and a question and answer session took place during the meeting. Human Service Providers provided information and five door prizes donated by Cornerstone Family Intervention Inc. were awarded.

The Town Hall meeting was coordinated by the Stop Watch Coalition of the Regional Family Resource Network.

What is the answer to underage drinking? A spokesman for the Juvenile Center spoke during the meeting and gave the answer: good communication, get to know your kids, clear rules, be more Involved with them, be a positive role model, know their friends, praise your kids, pay attention, and monitor activities.