Underage drinking declining in county
To the editor:
The hard part of Jefferson County Alcohol Consumption Task Force Coalition (ACT) efforts to reduce youth alcohol abuse is how to measure “prevention.” For example, recent youth alcohol use decisions during the Fairfield Prom may have prevented potential emergency room visits, auto accidents and parent worries. How do you measure that?
The 2012 Jefferson County Youth Survey (IYS) reported 46 percent of county students report alcohol is “hard or very hard” to get in the county. That is up 6 percent from 2008 as grant funded law enforcement operations are directed at reducing youth alcohol supply sources. Youth reporting using alcohol in the last 30 days continues to decline. During the period of 1999 to 2012, the total year to year reduction in youth alcohol use declined 186 percent. Youth binge drinking declined an amazing 243 percent. Recently, the Fairfield Police reported no underage alcohol arrests during the April prom activities.
How do you measure “prevention?” It is measured by kids making good choices. It is measured by parents and family support of happy, healthy youth lifestyles. It is measured by no heartbreaking news of youth accidents and injury. It is measured by safe, caring communities. Most important, it is measured by the peace of mind that comes from making responsible decisions about alcohol use and doing the right thing.
The arrival of summer, school graduations, RAGBRAI, family outings and other activities are good choice opportunities. The ACT Coalition urges everyone to continue underage and binge drinking prevention.
— Don Sander, ACT coalition coordinator