Amy Tekansik – Adult attitudes the key to curbing underage drinking
To the Editor:
Given the current debate regarding a potential new liquor store in the City Market area, Grand Futures Prevention Coalition would like to add some relevant facts to the discussion.
While availability is a key risk factor in underage drinking, liquor stores are only one of many ways that youth can get access to alcohol. During the compliance checks conducted by law enforcement this fall, 100 percent of the liquor stores in our area were in compliance. In other words, not one sold to minors during the sting. And, yet, despite those results, the figures below show clearly that a high percentage of our youth are consuming alcohol regularly, raising the question of where are they getting it?
Middle Park High School statistics from the ASSETS survey in Feb. 2008:
• 56 percent of 10th-graders, 78 percent of 11th-graders and 89 percent of 12th-graders report attending one or more parties in the last year “where other kids your age were drinking”.
• 35 percent of 11th-graders and 47 percent of 12th-graders rode (once or more in the last 12 months) with a driver who had been drinking.
• 68 percent of 11th-graders and 74 percent of 12th-graders used alcohol once or more in the last 30 days
• 43 percent of 11th-graders and 69 percent of 12th-graders reported getting drunk once or more in the last two weeks.
Additionally, the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that a majority of current alcohol users aged 12 to 20 drank at someone else’s home the last time they used alcohol. Further, more than 40 percent of those reporting alcohol use in the past 30 days report receiving alcohol from an adult.
It is the adults in the community who have the ability to keep our youth safe. And, not just parents, but all adults. Whether you’re a coach, store owner, neighbor, friend or stranger you can help insure that alcohol is not easily available to the youth in our community.
Don’t purchase alcohol for underage youth. Don’t provide alcohol in your home, thinking that it is fine as long as you take their keys. Drinking and driving is just one negative aspect of underage drinking. Alcohol is one of the most common contributors to criminal behavior among youth. Additionally, underage alcohol use can cause long-term harmful consequences such as alcohol addiction as well as interfering with the critical brain development occurring until age 24.
In addition to the community’s role in limiting underage alcohol use, there are a number of proactive efforts that can be taken to help insure the responsible sale of alcohol. Should the Granby Town Board choose to approve the liquor license, we urge them to include such provisions; including requiring that the owner and all employees are TIPS trained and that the store uses age verification card readers.
So, while it is certainly not ideal to have a liquor store next to a McDonald’s and a Subway, in the end, it is much more important for adults to set an example around alcohol use by upholding the law and not permitting or making it easier for underage youth to consume alcohol.
Grand County Director
Grand Futures Prevention Coalition
– Grand Futures Prevention Coalition’s mission is to engage our community in the creation and promotion of healthy, positive lifestyle choices as alternatives to substance abuse.
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