A few weeks ago I attended and participated in the 2nd of 2 community forums set up to get community input into the problem of underage drinking. From the input received at those meetings ranked listings of “problem priorities” and “solution priorities” were developed. The attendees were by and large parents. The lists are heavily weighted with parental responsibility.
Problem Priorities: 1. Peer pressure for youth to drink 2. Parents need for more awareness of and involvement with the problem 3. Parents attitudes toward condoning drinking and communicating with their kids 4. Parental supervision 5. Inconsistency of consequences and messages
Solution Priorities: 1. Educate youth on skills needed to resist peer pressure and to make healthy choices 2. Educate parents on role modeling and communication skills 3. Enforce rules and make them consistent at school, home, police, and in the community and prosecute adults who provide alcohol to minors 4. Explain and enforce zero tolerance 5. Make the issue of underage drinking prevention a priority for everyone in the community
It will be interesting to see what the After School Coalition (the group sponsoring this activity) develops through this process. I do have confidence in their capabilities. I think the target pieces and solution priorities will be manageable to design programs around. I do look forward to my office’s involvement in working with them on underage drinking, its risks and tragic outcomes.