Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Underage Drinking Prevention

At an Underage Drinking Prevention Committee meeting this morning we looked at some local statistics. These were obtained by anonymous survey of local school kids. Are they factual (did the kids tell the truth)? It would be impossible to know, but they look “coherent” enough to be legitimate. I would assume that they are truthful.

Asked about consuming alcohol within the last 30 days 6% of 6th graders said yes, as did 18% of 8th graders, 36% of 10th graders, and 56% of 12th graders.

These results are concerning and saddening. We discussed reasons that we ought to work to decrease the numbers of kids drinking and work to delay the start of drinking in these kids. That discussion was held because while it is “good” to do those things, we need something a bit more ‘concrete’ to “sell” efforts and programs. It pretty much boils down to the facts that if we can do those things we will save a few lives and we will decrease the risky behaviors associated with alcohol consumption (e.g. remembering that alcohol is the # 1 date rape drug). Alcohol does make you stupid.

How can we bring these numbers down? What programs work? That is the target of future work (and no “just say no” doesn’t work).

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